New Zealand Junior Surfing Team Readies for World Champs

A fresh-faced New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is about to touch down in El Salvador ready to tackle the World Junior Championship this week, the team including eight new faces amongst the country’s twelve top junior surfers.

The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is competing at the 2024 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship being held in Surf City, El Salvador.

Leading the way for the Kiwis are the 4 groms who are no strangers to ISA Competition. In the Under 18 Boys, it is Spencer Rowson who makes his 3rd straight appearance in as many years, looking to better his 25th place finish from 2023, he looks forward to putting his experience at the infamous la Bocana in to practise. Along side him will be first time team member Taimana Marupo and Tai Murphy, Marupo earning his place on the team as 2024 National champion and Murphy as ratings leader in the 2024 NZ Grom Series, both surfers will look to put on their best displays as they battle the worlds best in front of the biggest audience in junior surfing.

 An entirely new trio joins the team in the Under 18 Girls division with Sophia Brock (Mnt), Ariana Walker (Mnt) and Poppy Arkle of Piha. These young ladies have shown dedication and skill levels beyond their years with Brock taking the title at the most recent Te Kaika South Island Champs as well as multiple finals berths throughout the season.

Arkle also joins the team for the first time. Hailing from Piha she is no stranger to powerful waves and with multiple final finishes throughout the season she is looking for a great result at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships.

Ariana Walker from Mount Maunganui also steps up to the plate in the Under 18s as the team’s 3rd surfer. With consistent results all season she will be one to watch once competition gets underway in just a few days’ time.

In the Under 16 Division, it is returning team member Alexis Owen who leads the pack after an astonishing 6 from 8 titles this season. Seemingly unstoppable, Owen will look to better his 33rd place finish from 2023.

Benji Lowen who resides in Australia will join the kiwi team for the first time. Originally from Christchurch Lowen earnt his place with a dominant display at the Nationals eventually being crowned the 2024 National Champ for the Under 16 boys. Harrison Biddle of Whangamata joins the team off the back of a stellar season with multiple heat wins and finals finishes.

It is the Under 16 Girls division that sees the most experience come into play with Alani Morse and Lola Groube back for another year at the ISA World Junior Champs. Morse comes off a great build up to the event which has seen her win the Under 16 Girls National Champion title as well as a consistent run of finals throughout the year. She will look to better a 37th place finish from 2023 whilst Groube, who was the star of the New Zealand team in 2023 placed 19th. With multiple titles to her name, her performances this season bode well for an excellent World Junior Champs campaign.

 Rounding out the team will be Northlands super star Indi Lee Ruddell. With a convincing win in the final event of the Billabong Grom Series and a consistent run of performances leading up to the event, the young northland star will look to make the most of her first opportunity to represent Aotearoa and Te Tai Tokerau at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championships.

The team will compete at the 2024 ISA World Junior Championship being held in Surf City, El Salvador from the 3-12 May. 

 In 2023 the New Zealand Team placed tenth overall. 

The championship is the largest junior surfing event in the world playing host to over 340 surfers from 44 nations in 2024.

The 2024 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is as follows:

Under 18 Boys Division

Taimana Marupo (Mnt)

Spencer Rowson (Tara)

Tai Murphy (Whaka)

Under 18 Girls Division

Sophia Brock (Mnt)

Ariana Walker (Mnt)

Poppy Arkle (Piha)

Under 16 Boys Division

Alexis Owen (Dun)

Benji Lowen (Aus)

Harrison Biddle (Wgm)

Under 16 Girls Division

Alani Morse (Rag)

Indi Lee Ruddell (Whng)

Lola Groube (Pau)

Please see below for schedule of events (El Salvador dates and times):

(NZ is 18 hours ahead of El Salvador)

3rd May 4PM Opening Ceremony

4th May 7am-5pm Competition @ El Sunzal and La Bocana

12th May Closing Ceremony

You can watch the livestream of the event here:

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