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Maui surfers Bunch and Hanneman compete in Sambazon World Junior Championships

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Maui surfers Eli Hanneman and Jackson Bunch are among the athletes competing in the Sambazon World Junior Championships hosted by Best Western, taking place at Seaside Reef, in San Diego, Calif.

The event waiting period opens today, Jan. 9 and holds a competition window through Jan. 15, 2023. 

PC: World Surf League

They are both competing out of the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui region. Hanneman’s resume is packed with jaw-dropping edits and success on the QS, earning a win at the 2022 Priority Destinations Pro presented by Mastercard.

Bunch made his first full run at the QS this season and found success with a runner-up finish at Ala Moana Bowls to help secure his place in the World Junior Championships.

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“It’s cool to compete at World Juniors again,” said Hanneman. “The last time I did the event, I think I was 16. We didn’t have any junior events (and had to rely on the QS), but it is what it is. I’m excited to surf against just people my age.” 

  • OAHU, UNITED STATES – JANUARY 29: Jackson Bunch of Hawaii will surf again in Round 2 after placing first in Round 1 Heat 7 of the 2020 Volcom Pipe Pro at Pipeline on January 29, 2020 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Tony Heff/WSL via Getty Images)
  • HALEIWA, HAWAII, UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 29: Eli Hanneman of Hawaii after surfing in Heat 7 of the Opening Round at the Haleiwa Challenger at home in The Hawaiian Islands on November 29, 2022 at Haleiwa, Hawaii, United States. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)
  • OAHU, HAWAII, USA – JUNE 19: Eli Hanneman of Hawaii surfing in Round 2 Heat 1 at the WSL Priority Destinations Pro pres. by First Hawaiian Bank and Mastercard on June 19, 2022 at Honolulu, O’ahu Hawai’i. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)
  • BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 5: Eli Hanneman of Hawaii surfs in Heat 19 of the Round of 96 at the Ballito Pro on July 5, 2022 at Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (Photo by Alan van Gysen/World Surf League)
  • BALLITO, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA – JULY 8: Eli Hanneman of Hawaii surfs in Heat 6 of the Round of 24 at the Ballito Pro presented by O’Neill on July 8, 2022 at Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. (Photo by Alan van Gysen/World Surf League)

Hawaii/Tahiti Nui will also be represented by two of its emerging stars, Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) and Ēwelei’ula Wong (HAW). Both 17-year-olds have made their impact known on the Challenger Series, showcasing their power-surfing throughout the season.

Wong recently competed at the Haleiwa Challenger at Home in the Hawaiian Islands and earned an impressive fourth-place finish.

  • Oceanside, UNITED STATES – September 17: Puamakamae DeSoto of Hawaii surfs in Heat 11 at the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by Celsius on September 17, 2022 in Oceanside, United States. (Photo by Andrew Nichols/World Surf League)
  • Oceanside, UNITED STATES – September 17: Puamakamae DeSoto of Hawaii at the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by Celsius on September 17, 2022 in Oceanside, United States. (Photo by Andrew Nichols/World Surf League)
  • HALEIWA, HAWAII – DECEMBER 2: Eweleiula Wong of Hawaii surfs in Heat 1 of the Semifinals at the Haleiwa Challenger at home in The Hawaiian Islands on December 2, 2022 at Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League)
  • HALEIWA, HAWAII – DECEMBER 1: Eweleiula Wong of Hawaii after surfing in Heat 1 of the Round of 48 at the Haleiwa Challenger at home in The Hawaiian Islands on December 1, 2022 at Haleiwa, Hawaii. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)
  • HALEIWA, HAWAII, UNITED STATES – NOVEMBER 29: Eweleiula Wong of Hawaii surfs in Heat 1 of the Opening Round at the Haleiwa Challenger at home in The Hawaiian Islands on November 29, 2022 at Haleiwa, Hawaii, United States. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)
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The field will feature the world’s best up-and-coming surfers ages 20-and-under, from each of the WSL’s seven regions. Only one woman and one man will emerge victorious, claiming the 2022 World Junior Champion Titles and securing a place in the 2023 Challenger Series. . 


Once called ON, the World Junior Championships Hosted by Best Western will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.comWSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. 

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