JOE Van Dijk has claimed a silver medal at the International Surfing Association 2014 World Junior Surfing Championship held over the past week in Ecuador.
The Phillip Islander not only won individual silver, but was part of the 12-person Australian team which finished in third place behind Hawaii and France.
The event at Salinas Beach, on the west coach of South America, attracted more than 300 of the world’s best Under 18 and Under 16 surfers from 32 countries.
Van Dijk was the highest placed Australian in the event and follows in the path of his sister Nikki who placed third in the same event a few years ago.
Van Dijk was one of three individual medal hopes for Team Australia coming into the final day of competition.
Team Australia went into the final day on Sunday sitting in second spot with three surfers – Van Dijk in the Under 16 boys with Queensland duo Laura Poncini (Under 16 girls) and Isabella Nichols (Under 18 Girls) still in contention for a medal.
It was a busy day for Van Dijk and Poncini who both had to surf three heats.
Van Dijk, surfing in the Under 16 age bracket, finished third in his opening heat but rebounded with a first in the final Repechage heat to qualify for the final.
In a tight battle with France’s Leo-Paul Etienne, Van Dijk opened strongly with 6.33 and a 5.53, but couldn’t add to his tally before the Frenchman snatched the final with a late score of 7.27 to defeat the Australian 12.44 to 11.86.
In the country tally, Hawaii won the event on 21,168 points, ahead of France (20,872), followed by Australia (20,628) and the United States (18,418).