Excitement amongst Surfers Growing for Paralympic Inclusion
By ISA Staff
The action ramped up for day two of the 2022 Pismo Beach ISA World Para Surfing Championship Hosted by AmpSurf (WPSC) with the world’s best para surfers putting on a show.
A slight decrease in swell from day one allowed for clean, long rides and some of the best surfing ever seen at the WPSC. Fourteen waves in the excellent range (8.00-10.00) were registered by nine different surfers.
The competition started early with three-time gold medalist Alcino ‘Pirata’ Neto (BRA) and 2021 bronze medalist Dariel Melendez (CRC) each scoring waves of 8.93 in Men’s Stand 3.
Meanwhile Sarah Almagro (ESP) managed to slip slightly ahead of defending Women’s Prone 2 champion Jocelyn Neumueller (AUS). Almagro collected an impressive 16.93 heat total, Neumueller a 16.83.
Brazil’s Davi Teixeira already holds multiple records at the WPSC, including youngest World Champion, and today he set yet another, the highest heat total in Para Surfing history. Collecting a near-perfect 19.24 heat total, the 2016 gold medalist saw himself atop the leaderboard of the hotly contested Men’s Prone 2, which includes former gold medalists Jesse Billauer (USA), Freddy Marimon (COL), and Jose Martinez (USA).
It was Teixeira’s ability to string together multiple critical maneuvers that set him apart and led to his record-breaking performance. And while he’d love to win gold again this week, he also has bigger ambitions.
“I want to be a Paralympic athlete,” Teixeira said. “I want to surf and get into the Paralympics. I want to stay there, I want to surf there and in the name of Jesus I want to win there.”
Two women are in contention to win their fourth gold medals this week, Victoria Feige (CAN) in Women’s Kneel and Melissa Reid (ENG) in Women’s Vision Impairment 2. Both found the highest single wave scores in their classifications and are confidently moving forward in the competition.
One of the best performances in Women’s Prone 2 came from first-time WPSC competitor Emma Dieters (AUS). A surgery in early 2021 saw the 39-year-old mother of two unexpectedly become a quadriplegic. After encouragement from fellow Australian Sam Bloom, a two-time gold medalist, Dieters returned to the ocean earlier this year.
“I used to surf when I was a young kid and I competed. Then having kids, I was out of the water for a while, but I really wanted to get back in the water.
“I had bad neck pain and had to get surgery and that’s when I acquired my injury. I didn’t want to let that dream and goal go, so now I’m out in the water doing it differently. I wanted to show the kids that no matter what you can always achieve your dream.”