ISABELLA NICHOLS WSL WORLD JUNIOR CHAMP
Huge congrats goes out to Isabella Nichols who has defeated Mahina Maeda to win the Ericeira World Junior Championships, claiming the World Junior Champion title in clean three-to-four foot waves at the pristine Ribeira d'Ilhas pointbreak.
Isabella Nichols started building early in her final with an excellent 8.93 to apply pressure on her opponent and quickly backed it up. The young Australian kept building momentum and dropped an incredible 9.37 for her polished aggressive forehand attack on the long Ribeira walls. With a solid 18.30 combined heat total, Nichols' claimed the win over reigning World Junior Champion Maeda.
"I'm so happy, I don't even know what to say I'm speechless," an emotional Nichols said. "I was lucky to get those two waves, I didn't know what was happening cause we couldn't hear any scores. When I heard I had a good lead I started to calm down a bit and nothing really came through after that. It was the longest heat of my life for sure."
An uncharacteristic slow start left Mahina Maeda (HAW), 17, chasing scores in the final while her opponent kept choosing the right waves in the clean lineup. Despite being one of the strongest surfers all week in Portugal, Maeda couldn't match her rival's rhythm and placed runner-up.
Photos courtesy of WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot