Team Australia’s campaign at the ISA World Surfing Games has provided valuable time together as a group, and given them an Aloha Cup Victory.
With a set of mixed results in the main individual draw, the six Australian teammates of Owen Wright, Julian Wilson, Ryan Callinan, Sally Fitzgibbons, Stephanie Gilmore and Nikki Van Dijk showed great support for each other, backing each other’s performance and following up with an exciting gold medal-winning team result in the Aloha Cup Final.
The three Aussie women were gritty and determined in their individual rounds, surfing through a combined 14 heats in a single day to grind out a solid result. Sally Fitzgibbons was the best-placed Australian female surfer, only one heat away from making the final.
In tricky conditions, for the men’s individual rounds, it was Ryan Callinan who was the best-placed Australian male surfer, who looks ready to perform at the next WSL World Championship Tour event in The Freshwater Pro where he is looking to climb up the leaderboard rankings.
Surfing Australia’s National High-Performance Director Kim Crane said: “I’m grateful and impressed by how our athletes showed up for this event. Ours is a unique sport with many complexities to navigate, including multiple stakeholders and extensive travel. Our team approached this challenge with passion, commitment and a growth mindset. We learnt a lot both as individuals and as a group, in and out of the water. I wish to acknowledge Team Australia’s Head Coach Bede Durbidge and our HP Program staff who lead the way, investing heavily to create a supportive performance-focused environment.”
“We’ve been working hard to find ways to offer and add value to our athlete’s individual year-long campaigns, whilst simultaneously building a team culture that creates sustainable success, performance advantage and national pride. This is a long term vision, and it is about more than just the Olympics; so we embrace the fact that opportunities like this bring it to life.”
“Surfing Australia would like to sincerely acknowledge Fernando Aguerre and his ISA staff, the Nippon Surfing Association and Vans for the relentless work and effort required to put on such an incredible event. Across the world, and with 55 nations competing here, the sport of surfing is in a really exciting place and we hold great anticipation for the different opportunities ahead. Congratulations to all athletes who progressed into individual finals for their country as the level of competition was fierce, and to all those that participated with pride under their national flag throughout the event. Our Australian athletes have a sense of being part of something pretty special, and we appreciate that in them demonstrating such a strong authentic intent and character, they are establishing a long-lasting legacy for surfing’s high-performance national network. We’re already looking forward to 2020!”
According to the Olympic qualification system, the top ten eligible men and eight women, maximum two per country, at the end of the 2019 WSL CT season, will earn qualification slots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Source: Surfing Australia Photographs: Sean Evans