Former World Champions Deliver Stellar Performances at 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Championship
By ISA Staff
The 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Championship (WPSC) kicked off with an exciting first day of competition at Huntington Beach, California. Incredible 3-4 foot peaks provided the ideal canvas for the world’s best para surfers to showcase their skills.
2020 World Champion Roberto Pino (BRA) took top honors with the highest single wave score (9.00) and heat total (16.83) of the day, now competing in the Stand 1 division. After settling for silver in 2022, Pino is determined to reclaim the gold medal this year. “I’m focused and I’m going to win the gold for sure,” he said.
The legendary rivalry between 2022 Kneel champion Llywelyn “Sponge” Williams (WAL) and three-time champion Mark “Mono” Stewart (AUS) continued, with Williams posting an impressive 15.33 heat total to advance ahead of Stewart. “Every time I’m against Mono it’s like a final,” Williams said. “There’s a lot of competition this year so it’s going to be tough, but if the waves stay like this it’s going to be fun.”
Saudi Arabia’s first ever WPSC competitor, Mohanad Al-Malki, is relishing the challenge of learning the sport. The 23-year-old from Riyadh only started surfing 7 months ago but is already making great progress. “It’s a really good sport, and a challenging sport, but I’m really enjoying it,” he said.
Other former champions like Jose Martinez (USA), Jesse Billauer (USA), Casey Proud (HAW) and Davi Teixeira (BRA) also impressed on the opening day. With stunning conditions and intense rivalries continuing, the 2023 WPSC is off to an electrifying start!
Competition will continue tomorrow at Southside Huntington Beach Pier at 7:00am PST with Men’s Stand 2.