Team USA Surfing Gold

USA Reclaims Team Gold on Dramatic Day of Finals in Pismo Beach

Buoyed by Defending Champions, USA Reclaims Team Gold on Dramatic Day of Finals in Pismo Beach

Story and photos by ISA Staff


Seven new World Champions are crowned, nine previous World Champions increase individual gold medal totals

The surf pumped throughout a dramatic finals day in Pismo Beach for the 2021 ISA World Para Surfing Games, leading home-team USA to their second gold medal in the Para Surfing Team Championship.

Team USA acquired a trilogy of gold medals courtesy of Liv Stone, Sarah Bettencourt and Jose Martinez. The two women used a combination of clever heat strategy and solid surfing to back up their 2020 wins in Stand 1 and Prone 1 respectively, while Martinez pushed his teammate Jesse Billauer to the bitter end in the last heat of the day, the Men’s Prone 2 final.

“I’m always proud to be a veteran, but this is on the ultimate level,” said Martinez. “To represent my country for a new sport that’s coming out, that I see as absolutely epic and is going to be so meaningful for the rest of the world, not just for us. I am grateful and I am honored.”

Team USA celebrates Team Gold Medal during the 2021 ISA World Parasurfing Championships in Pismo Beach, Calif. (Photo by ISA / Ben Reed).
Four former champions find magic in the number three

The number three was the order of the day for four returning champions who each claimed their third gold medal. Para Surfing pioneers Mark “Mono” Stewart (AUS) and Alcino “Pirata” Neto both saw themselves back on top, while Victoria Feige (CAN) and Melissa Reid (ENG) made it three in a row, as the first two women to win three gold medals in Para Surfing history.

“The girls are all charging and I love to see that,” said Feige. “I think we’re going to keep raising the level of adaptive surfing.”

Roy Calderon and Jimena Ruiz deliver first wins for Costa Rica

Costa Rica achieved their first two Para Surfing gold medals, with both Roy Calderon and Jimena Ruiz improving on previous results to find success in Men’s Visually Impaired 2 and Women’s Stand 2 respectively.

“I worked three shifts and gave up all of my vacation time to pay for my travel,” Calderon said. “I’m so happy to win this for all of Costa Rica!”

Roy Calderon from Costa Rica gets the first gold for the team at the 2021 ISA World Parasurfing Championships in Pismo Beach, Calif. (Photo: ISA / Ben Reed).
Fresh faces find gold with dominant division victories

Two women found themselves wearing gold around their necks for the first time. In the Women’s Visually Impaired 1 final Marta Paço (POR) put early pressure on the rest of the field and didn’t let up on her way to a convincing win.

A dynamic final defined Joyce Neumueller’s (AUS) victory in Women’s Prone 2, with the lead constantly changing before she posted an 8.00 and sealed the deal in her first appearance on the international stage.

Outstanding performances across multiple divisions raise the bar

Leaving his best for last, Fellipe Kizu Lima, opened the Sit final with the highest single wave score of the event, a 9.83. With a backup of an 8.93, the Brazilian accumulated a total of 18.76 to deliver the highest heat score of the championship and beat his own previous record of the second highest total in Para Surfing history.

It was team Israel who saw themselves victorious in Men’s Stand 2. The ever-exuberant Adi Klang kissed the sand as he clung to his nation’s flag, an impressive performance increasing his gold medal count. Klang’s teammate Nachman Balulu won his first silver medal.

Also going one and two for their country, defending champion of Men’s Stand 1, Mike Richards Vaz (BRA), collected his second gold medal over his teammate Jonathan Borba in silver, though Richards left it to the final moments to catch the wave that took him from fourth place to first.

Hansen retains record as Para Surfing’s most successful

Men’s Prone 1 brought the drama as Hawaii’s Casey Proud came convincingly close to taking the win away from the undefeated Bruno Hansen of Denmark. However, Hansen retained his record as the winningest participant in Para Surfing history, earning himself an unprecedented sixth gold medal.

Sending his love around the world, Hansen said, “I’d like to dedicate this to all the teams that couldn’t make it to this event this year. This gold medal is for you guys.”

Audrey Pascual adding another medal for team Spain at the 2021 ISA World Parasurfing Championships in Pismo Beach, Calif. (Photo: ISA / Sean Evans).



Women’s Kneel

Gold – Victoria Feige (CAN)
Silver – Noemi Alvarez (CHI)
Bronze – Audrey Pascaul (ESP)
Copper – Ana Barbara Garcia (MEX)

Men’s Kneel

Gold – Mark Stewart (AUS)
Silver – Altair Olivares (CHI)
Bronze – Llewelyn Williams (WAL)
Copper – Henrique Saraiva (BRA)

Women’s Visually Impaired 2

Gold – Melissa Reid (ENG)
Silver – Sarah Jane Gibson (AUS)
Bronze – Ling Pai (CAN)
Copper – Celia Gramse (ESP)

Men’s Visually Impaired 2

Gold – Roy Calderon (CRC)
Silver – Miguel Flavio (BRA)
Bronze – Aaron Paulk (HAW)
Copper – Matt Formston (AUS)

Women’s Visually Impaired 1

Gold – Marto Paço (POR)
Silver – Carmen Lopez (ESP)
Bronze – Barbie Pacheco (USA)

Men’s Visually Impaired 1

Gold – Elias Figue Diel (BRA)
Silver – Kirk Watson (AUS)
Bronze – Ben Neumann (GER)
Copper – Aitor Francesena (ESP)

Open Sit

Gold – Fellipe Kizu Lima (BRA)
Silver – Ethan Kairer (USA)
Bronze – Juan Camacho (CRC)
Copper – Alana Nichols (USA)

Women’s Stand 1

Gold – Liv Stone (USA)
Silver – Catalina Salamanca (CHI)
Bronze – Darian Haynes (USA)
Copper – Chikato Takao (JPN)

Men’s Stand 1

Gold – Mike Richards Vaz (BRA)
Silver – Jonathan Borba (BRA)
Bronze – Harrison Doi (HAW)
Copper – Camilo Abdula (POR)

Women’s Prone 1

Gold – Sarah Bettencourt (USA)
Silver – Claudia Palacios (CHI)
Bronze – Minoshka Solis (CRC)
Copper – Katherine Beattie (USA)

Men’s Prone 1

Gold – Bruno Hansen (DEN)
Silver – Casey Proud (HAW)
Bronze – Nicolas Gallegos (ARG)
Copper – Miguel Rojas (CHI)

Men’s Stand 3

Gold – Alcino Neto (BRA)
Silver – Colin Cook (HAW)
Bronze – Dariel Melendez (CRC)
Copper – Martin Diaz Martinez (MEX)

Women’s Stand 2

Gold – Jimena Ruiz (CRC)
Silver – Malu Mendes (BRA)
Bronze – Maria Granizo (ESP)
Copper – Charlotte Banfield (ENG)

Men’s Stand 2

Gold – Adi Klang (ISR)
Silver – Nachman Balulu (ISR)
Bronze – Philippe Naud (FRA)
Copper – Baldir Vallejos (CRC)

Women’s Prone 2

Gold – Joyce Neumueller (AUS)
Silver – Sarah Almargo (ESP)
Bronze – Samantha Bloom (AUS)
Copper – Hannah Dines (ENG)

Men’s Prone 2

Gold – Jose Martinez (USA)
Silver – Jesse Billauer (USA)
Bronze – Claudio Morales (CHI)
Copper – Tomoki Fujiwara (JPN)


Gold – USA
Silver – Spain
Bronze – Brazil
Copper – Costa Rica


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