Home » Australian surfers win junior world championship in El Salvador as Irukandjis take gold

Australian surfers win junior world championship in El Salvador as Irukandjis take gold

Australia has two new junior world surfing champions and the team has won gold at the International Surfing Association (ISA) event in El Salvador. 

Australian Ziggy Mackenzie won in the girl’s under 16 division at the World Junior Surfing Championship, while her teammate Dane Henry won the boy’s under 18 division.

Coming in behind team captain Henry, who hails from Fingal Head on the New South Wales North Coast, was Fletcher Kelleher from Freshwater.

Dane Henry grew up surfing around his home town of Final Head in northern NSW.(Photo: ISA )

The efforts of all 12 young surfers representing Australia’s Irukandjis were enough for the team to finish as overall winners of the event.

Irukandjis coach Pete Duncan from Evans Head said the team was over the moon.

“Everyone had their individual jobs to do, and we had the team gold stitched up before the finals even went down,” he said.

“It was just incredible to have such a strong team go so deep into the draw and get the job done early.”

Henry is becoming known for the effortlessness with which he launches himself into the air while surfing.

Surfer completing radical move

Dane Henry is known for his aerial manoeuvres.(Photo: ISA/Jersson Barboza)

He said he had been competing since the age of five, and was starting to find it easier to relax during competition and have the confidence to perform.

Flying high

Henry said his aerial manoeuvres were a result of a lot of time in the water and training at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre on trampolines and in the gym.

“It’s definitely been a huge journey,” he said.

“I’m really happy to be able to bring what I have been working on to one of the biggest stages for junior surfing.”

Mr Duncan said Henry was widely considered one of the best aerialist in the junior ranks worldwide, and a spot on the Olympic team and the World Surf League Championship Tour were within reach.

Ziggy gets gold

Ziggy Mackenzie also has her sights set on a career in professional surfing and becoming a world champion.

The 15-year-old, who now lives on the Gold Coast, only started competing four years ago.

“I love it. I don’t know where I would be without it, honestly,” Mackenzie said.

girl doing top turn surf move on a large wave

Ziggy Mackenzie came out ahead of contestants from across the globe.(Photo: ISA/Sean Evans)

She said it had been an intense ten days of surfing and supporting the other competitors.

“Even in the final I didn’t do my best surfing but I just tried to be consistent and strong,” Mackenzie said.

“It’s amazing. I am still just blown away by it.

“The whole team was ripping actually. We did such a good job.”

radical surf move

Fletcher Kelleher came second in the under 18 boys division.(Photo: ISA/Jersson Barboza)

Other results from the Australian team include:

  • Charli Hatley, who came 25th in the under 16 girls
  • Milla Brown and Willow Hardy who came fourth and seventh respectively in the under 18 girls
  • Maverick Wilson and Ocean Lancaster who came eighth and eleventh in the under 16 boys
  • Eden Hasson who came seventh in the under 18 boys.

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