The Verizon Hawaii Junior Surf Team (that's their official name) won the overall team award at the Da Kine ISA World Surfing Championships, which was held at Playa Venao in Panama. It was seven years since the Hawaiians brought team gold medals home to the islands. Furthermore, Hawaii team members (Dax McGill and Kalani David) also won two individual gold medals in the process. There were 31 nations participating in the international event, which is the closest thing surfing has to the Olympics.
A total of 303 athletes competed in three divisions (Boys Under-18, Girls Under-18 and Boys Under-16) in the eight-day, double elimination contest. By the final three heats, there were six Hawaiians out of the 12 remaining surfers.
Dax McGill, 14, was the youngest competitor at the 2012 ISA World Surfing Championships. Despite this being her first "Worlds" campaign, the North Shore native won the Girls Under-18 division. In addition to McGill, there were two other wahine (Tatiana Webb and Mahina Maeda) in the Girls Under-18 final. McGill won gold dramatically in the last minute of the final, gnailing the winning ride on a left.
"I did that first hit and got super psyched and saw two more sections coming up and I was like, 'let's whack this thing as hard as I've ever whacked something before!" McGill said of her winning wave.
On the male side of the ISA Worlds, fellow North Shore supergrom, Kalani David won the Boys Under-16 division with teammate, Josh Moniz finishing in fourth. David woke up ill on the last day of the event, but still managed to put on a gold medal aerial attack in the final.
"I woke up really sick this morning. I drank a lot of Vitamin C all morning and watched a lot of surf movies to get ready," explained David. "I'm super stoked right now. It means the world to me to win the Gold Medal. Being in a contest with junior surfers from all around the world, it definitely is something I'll remember forever."
With David's victory in the Boys Under-16, Team Hawaii won the overall team gold despite not fielding any finalists in the Boys Under-18 final, which was won by Brazil's Mattheus Navarro.
Girls Under-18 Final
Gold: Dax McGill (HAW)
Silver: Ellie Jean Coffey (AUS)
Bronze: Tatiana W-Webb (HAW)
Copper: Mahina Maeda (HAW)
Boys Under-16 Final
Gold: Kalani David (HAW)
Silver: Takumi Nakamura (JPN)
Bronze: Noe Mar McGonagle (CRC)
Copper: Josh Moniz (HAW)
Boys Under-18 Final
Gold: Matheus Navarro (BRA)
Silver: Deivid Silva (BRA)
Bronze: Vasco Ribeiro (POR)
Copper: Joshua Hay (AUS)
Final ISA World Juniors Team Ranking