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Published on Apr 23, 2012
Day 6 of the event in Panama started in a very different way than those that preceded it. With all 31 of the delegations before him, lined up in the shape of a circle, ISA president Fernando Aguerre shared some heart-felt words on the passing of David Lilienfeld, a Team South Africa bodyboarder. Lilienfeld was the victim of a shark attack in South Africa 48 hours earlier. All the participants observed a moment of silence honoring his memory.
Once competition began, heat after heat, teams watched as their medal chances rose and fell. Coming into Day 6 of competition, the defending Gold Medal team, Peru, was sitting comfortably with all of its 12 surfers still in contention, the only full team in the event. By the end of the day on Friday, eight of those surfers were out of the DAKINE ISA World Junior Surfing Championship Presented by Billabong. That's how quickly and unexpectedly fortunes can shift when the best junior surfers in the world are on hand, and the waves are firing from sun-up to sun-down.
With only Repechage heats on the schedule for the day, every heat was do or die. The morning began with 116 athletes in the three divisions, and by the time the final horn had blown, just 44 remained.
Fortunately, for those who were competing today, Mother Nature sent constant opportunity for high scores and last-minute, heat-winning waves. Due to the tide high, the four-to six-foot sets were presenting long walls on which the talented array of surfers were able to put their full repertoire of maneuvers on display.