Emma Dieters (Mona Vale, NSW), Kirk Watson (Mona Vale, NSW) and Joel Taylor (Lennox Head, NSW) are our latest World Champions after winning gold in their divisions at the Huntington Beach 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Championship.
In total, the Irukandjis took home seven medals, with Jocelyn Neumueller (Adelaide, SA) finishing second in her division and Reddog Wheatley (Newcastle, NSW) third. Jack Jackson (Central Coast, NSW) came fourth in Men’s Vision Impairment 2 and Kai Colless (Burleigh Heads, QLD) was fourth in Men’s Prone 1, both returning home with copper.
Taylor topped the podium in his very first ISA event.
“Winning [a world title] with my family here by my side has been the best experience of my life,” Taylor told Surfing Australia.
“I waited 30 years for this. I’ve dreamed of being a World Champion since Eppo [Michael Eppelstun] won the first bodyboarding world title for Australia in 1993. I was a professional bodyboarder when I had my injury in 2001 and had over 20 years out of the water. To win, after just 12 months as a para surfer, is mind blowing.”
Dieters, who last year won gold in the Women’s Prone 2 division at Pismo Beach in California, said: “I can’t believe it happened again. So stoked. I moved up to the unassisted category this year so I really worked hard for this one. I didn’t want to be a one hit wonder. Thank you to everyone that had a part in helping me achieve my goal this year. Congratulations to all the Aussies who performed so well, especially the young ones Kai and Annie in their first World Championships. Congratulations to all medal winners.”
Watson won his first gold medal after multiple previous finals.
Watson said: “Fourth attempt’s the charm, very strategic final lots of manoeuvring for priority. Congratulations to all the fellow Irukandjis and great to see some young talent perform well.”
2023 ISA World Para Surfing Championship – Team Irukandjis:
Joel Taylor – PS-Prone 1 *GOLD
Kai Colless – PS-Prone 1 *COPPER
Mark “Mono” Stewart – PS-Kneel
Reddog Wheatley – PS-Kneel *BRONZE
Jocelyn Neumueller – PS-Prone 2 *SILVER
Annie Goldsmith – PS-Prone 2
Emma Dieters – PS-Prone 1 *GOLD
Kirk Watson – PS-Vision 1 *GOLD
Jack Jackson – PS-Vision 2 *COPPER
Matt Formston – PS-Vision 2
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