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New Zealand Olympic qualification on the line at 2023 ISA World Surfing Games. 

NEWS 📰

The ISA World Surfing Games officially begins at Surf City, El Salvador next week with the Opening Ceremony and the Pouring of the Sands on Tuesday May 30th.
With the last ISA event being held in 2022 at Huntington Beach, California and with Olympic Qualification spots on the line the 2023 edition of the World Surfing Games promises to be packed full of action and drama.  Five new nations will be represented for the very first time, bringing the total nations to a new record of 64 with over 297 athletes competing. The Czech Republic, India, Latvia, Mauritius, and Trinidad and Tobago will also compete at their first World Surfing Games. Current Team World Champions, Team USA, also return to the event to defend their title with a team that includes Olympic gold medalist Carissa Moore and two-time WSL Champion John John Florence.

The New Zealand Surfing Team will depart from both Australia and New Zealand due to various international and domestic commitments. Paige Hareb, Saffi Vette, Kehu Butler and Billy Stairmand head to El Salvador with weeks of back-to-back, high-level competition under their belts after competing in the first leg of the World Surf league Challenger Series in Australia. Pia Rogers and Dune Kennings will also leave from New Zealand meeting their fellow teammates in Surf City, El Salvador ready to compete at one of the biggest events in international surfing.

The 2023 WSG will take place across two world-class waves in El Salvador, La Bocana and El Sunzal. La Bocana is a cobble-stone bottom river mouth that features multiple peaks. The waves break left and right, providing powerful, steep sections for high performance surfing. El Sunzal is a long, right hand point break west of La Bocana that runs for hundreds of meters along the coast.

Kehu Butler (Bay of Plenty), Billy Stairmand (Raglan) and Dune Kennings (Piha) will represent the men. Billy and Kehu gained entry through 2022 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series and Dune Kennings through his win at the 2023 National Surfing Championships.

Paige Hareb (Taranaki) Saffi Vette (Gisborne) and Pia Rogers (Whangamata) will represent the women. Hareb qualifies via the WSL Challenger Series like Stairmand and Butler and returns to the event looking to better her 11th placing in 2021. After a runner-up finish on the Australia/Oceania Qualifying Series this summer, Hareb looks to be a favourite for the event and hopes to qualify for the New Zealand Olympic Team in Paris 2024. Vette qualified via the 2023 WSL Australia/Oceania Qualifying Series and Rogers, the youngest on the team, through her title at the 2023 National Championships.

El Salvador is no stranger to top level competition with the 2021 edition of the event being held there and the World Junior Surfing Championships also held at the famous, Surf City in 2022. The ISA World Longboard Championship has also just concluded there with New Zealand placing 17th. This will be the fifth major ISA event Surf City El Salvador has hosted in the past five years and the second time they have hosted the WSG. Surf City El Salvador initially hosted the 2019 World SUP and Paddleboard World Championship. The success of that event was followed up by the 2021 ISA WSG, the 2022 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship and the recently completed 2023 ISA World Longboard Championship.

Paige Hareb

 

The ISA World Surfing Games will serve as the second event in the Olympic Qualification process, with four (4) slots up for grabs for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games (to be held in Tahiti). In El Salvador, the four top ranked surfers by continent for each gender will qualify 1 place each by name.

At the time of writing a schedule is yet to be announced however competition initiates on the 30th May. The event will draw to a close with Finals and the Closing Ceremony on the 7th of June.

Olympic Qualification
The ISA World Surfing Games is an important event for many teams hoping to get into the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.” In a significant innovation to the Olympic Surfing Qualification System, the winning men’s and women’s National Teams at these World Surfing Games will be allocated one Olympic slot each for their respective country/National Olympic Committee (NOC).

This qualification slot will be in addition to the maximum quota of 2 athletes per country for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.  Fierce competition is expected for this potential third slot for the top teams.”

The most recent World Surf Games event was held in Huntington Beach, USA where a six-strong team of Kiwis attended and placed 19th in the world. New Zealand has been attending the ISA World Surfing Games since the 60s and continues to do so this year with the team travelling to El Salvador for one of the most important events of the year.

The 2023 New Zealand Surfing Team is as follows:

Men
Billy Stairmand (Rag)
Kehu Butler (Mnt)
Dune Kennings (Piha)
Women
Paige Hareb (Tara)
Pia Rogers (WGM)
Saffi Vette (Gis)

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