The 2019 ISA World Surfing Games presented by Vans continued to roll through in the southern prefecture of Miyazaki in Japan for Day 3. The Women's Open Division continued to impress as gold-medal favorites Caroline Marks, USA, and Tatiana Weston-Webb, Brazil, made their mark on the waters.
Guam's Irie Fitzgerald, the youngest member of the team, got her shot in the morning repechage rounds. Up against surfers from Portugal, Mexico and Switzerland, the 16-year-old did well, but not good enough to take a spot in the top two. Instead, she finished fourth in the round, ending her shot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer.
With everyone working the inside swells, it was tough for Fitzgerald to get a decent set.
Waters were rough, Guam's Will Byerly said.
"(It) was a real work. (The) first day of any typhoon swell is unruly – hard to master," he said.
Despite the loss, Fitzgerald was upbeat and pumped about her growth at the competition.
"Waves were super gnarly, I tried my best," she said. "Didn't make it, but I caught a truly good wave! Super stoked to even surf!"
Fitzgerald still has a lot on her plate after this edition of WSG. She plans to compete in Hawaii and the World Surf League Juniors in the coming months.
It's been a good ride, Fitzgerald said.
"Met new people and old friends, got to surf some amazing waves and had fun with my team," she said, ticking off her experiences at the ISA Worlds.
Today, the men's competition will take center stage. The times aren't set yet, but Jared Gogue will be competing in Heat 10. Shane Pier will be vying for his shot in Heat 26. Cheyne Purcell drew the best heat, getting a shot test his skills against Brazil's Gabriel Medina, the 2018 World Surf League champion and one of the best professional surfers in the world.