Emma Dieters from Sydney’s Northern Beaches is Australia’s newest world champion.
The 40-year-old took out the Women’s Prone 2 division at the World Para Surfing Championship in Pismo Beach, California.
Starting with an 8.33 and quickly backing it up with an 8.93, Dieters left fellow Women’s Prone 2 finalists Sarah Almagro (ESP), Celine Rouillard (FRA) and Jocelyn Neumueller (AUS) needing a combination of two waves to take the win. A 9.00 from teammate and defending champion Neumueller left the door open, with both surfers waiting for scores on the sand, but in the end it was first-time competitor Dieters winning the gold medal, and Neumeuller, silver.
Dieters told Surfing Australia it’s still sinking in.
“Australia’s competitors have come from being mostly unknown to each other to being a tight knit team that has supported one another on everyone’s quest to do their very best on the world stage. Early morning or late arvo Team Australia chanted their hearts out to amp up our teammates. I feel really proud to be part of this Irukandjis Team. I am beyond stoked to take away the gold medal for the team at my first world championship. I have had a taste of it, and would like to get to a few more contests if possible.
“I am also so happy to help bring more awareness to the sport and encourage others to get involved. I’m looking forward to getting home and celebrating with my family and friends and local community,” she said.
Dieters was diagnosed as a C4 quadriplegic in February 2021 after spinal fusion surgery went wrong.
After months of rehab and a chance meeting with 2x world para surfing champion Sam Bloom, Dieters returned to the sport she has always loved.
There were great results all around with 6 of out the 11 Irukandjis athletes finishing in a top three finals position.
Team coach, Brittani Nicholl said: “It was a fantastic result for Australia in really testing conditions and a few close nail biters up until the end.”
ISA President Fernando Aguerre said: “All week we have seen incredible surfing from elite athletes and the performance levels continue to rise. The future of para surfing is so bright.”
Australia finished sixth overall out of 26 countries.
FINAL – RESULTS
Women Prone 2
1st Emma Dieters
2nd Jocelyn Neumueller
2nd Mark Mono Stewart
2nd Jack Jackson
3rd Kirk Watson
Men Stand 1
3rd John Wheele
Women Prone 1
4th Sam Bloom
Men Prone 2
Equal 5th Lee Ferrier
Equal 5th Matt Formston
Men Stand 3
10th Chris Blowes