Alan Cleland, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Peru win world titles at 2023 ISA World Surfing Games as two more Paris 2024 quotas are awarded
Alan Cleland: Underdog becomes champion
At 21 years old and low in the pack on the Men’s Challenger Series, Cleland was not among the headliners when he arrived in El Salvador for the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games, but as the eight-day competition progressed, the Mexican showed that he is not one to be taken lightly.
Cleland finished the competition with three entries among the Top 10 highest-scoring waves, including the 9.73-point scorcher he saved for the final against Igarashi and Peru’s Luca Mesinas and Miguel Tudela.
Now qualified to the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, Cleland’s performance in El Salvador also got him closer to qualifying for his first Olympic Games.
If South Africa’s Jordy Smith, who received the ticket to Paris 2024 on Day 6 of competition, qualifies again through the World Championship Tour, Cleland would become the top candidate to replace Smith for the quota from the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games.
“It’s been a huge goal of mine, getting to the Olympics, that’s why I came here,” Cleland said. “I knew this wasn’t a qualifier, but I wanted to surf against the Olympians and I want to be here and show that I can do it.
“I felt like the underdog the whole time. I knew I had the talent, I knew I had the drive, I knew I had the fire, and now it shows.”
2023 ISA World Surfing Games: Team title for Peru
Peru’s Luca Mesinas finished second in the final against Cleland, while his teammate Miguel Tudela was third.
With Sol Aguirre also in contention for the women’s title until the final rounds, Peru collected enough points to win the team title, surpassing France and Brazil.
This marks the second time that Peru wins the team title. Their previous victory was in Costa Rica in 2016.
Tatiana Weston-Webb: First for Brazil
While Cleland celebrated his first ISA world title, it was the third for Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb, a two-time ISA U-18 world junior champion. What made it more special, however, is that it was the first title the surfer, who grew up in Hawaii, won while representing Brazil.
Weston-Webb also secured her quota for Santiago 2023 while in El Salvador and is now looking ahead to more victories and her ultimate goal, winning gold at the Olympic Games.
“Surfing is soaring and with it now being in the Olympics…it’s just elevated our sport to a different level,” she said. “It’s given people from all over the world dreams to be Olympic gold medallists and for me, that’s my biggest dream so I’m going to keep fighting until I can hopefully get one.”
Weston-Webb made solid progress through the competition, never leaving the main round, but it looked like her dominant run would end in the final. She trailed in the back of the four-woman heat and struggled to catch a good wave until posting double 7.50 scores in the final minutes.
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They’re 4 hours ahead of us….
Five Paris 2024 Olympians Confirmed on Day 6 of the 2023 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games
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