Team Irukandjis Announcement
Surfing Australia is excited to announce the nine men and three women who will represent Australia at the ISA World Para Surfing Championship at Huntington Beach in California next month.
Kai Colless (Burleigh Heads, QLD) started surfing when he was 2-years-old. This will be his first time competing in an ISA event.
“Representing Australia at the Worlds isn’t something I ever imagined I would have the chance to do. It feels pretty amazing to be representing my country at a sport I love so much,” he said.
Last year, the 16-year-old was on a surfing holiday with his family when he started to lose movement in his legs. Kai was diagnosed with a rare condition called Arteriovenous Malformation that caused swelling of his spinal cord and a lack of oxygenated blood to his lower limbs causing some nerve damage and muscle atrophy.
Kai only got out of hospital in December after life saving surgery and is currently in a wheelchair. Fast forward a few months and he’s now a world champion, having just won the final of the US Open Adaptive Surfing Championships in California at the weekend.
“Being a world champion hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said.
5x World Champion Mark “Mono” Stewart (Byron Bay, NSW) will also be competing at Huntington Beach off the back of another World Title win.
“So stoked to go back to back on the world professional tour. It means so much after last year’s battle to beat stage 4 melanoma.
“Really looking forward to representing my country again for the 8th time as a Irukandjis. This year’s team is the largest and strongest I’ve ever been part of and I’m sure we can give the team gold a real chance.”
Surfing Australia High Performance Director, Kate Wilcomes said: “We’re excited to have such an experienced and diverse team representing Australia at the ISA World Para Surfing Championships. We have a great mix of seasoned, experienced athletes such and Matt, Joycelyn and Mono as well as some promising young up-and-coming surfers such as Kai and Annie and we’re proud to have them attend the event along with the whole Irukandjis Para Team for 2023.”
Joining the athletes at Huntington Beach will be Team Australia Coach, Michael O’Rafferty and Team Manager, Jacqui-Maree Bailey.
More information visit the ISA event website HERE.
2023 ISA World Para Surfing Championship – Team Irukandjis:
Andrew Pink – PS-Stand 3
Joel Taylor – PS-Prone 1
Kai Colless – PS-Prone 1
Cliff Gralton – PS-Prone 2
Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart – PS-Kneel
Reddog Wheatley – PS-Kneel
Jocelyn Neumueller – PS-Prone 2
Annie Goldsmith – PS-Prone 2
Emma Dieters – PS-Prone 1
Kirk Watson – PS-Vision 1
Jack Jackson – PS-Vision 2
Matt Formston – PS-Vision 2
*subject to change at any time at the ISA’s discretion
Sunday – November 5
November 5 – 11
Location: South Huntington Beach
Time: 7am – 5pm
Saturday – November 11
Final day of Competition