Franco Radziunas, the new Argentine surfing champion: a story with a family heritage

Franco Radziunas, the new Argentine surfing champion: a story with a family heritage

In 1991 it was his father Luis who wrote his name among the winners of the outstanding Argentine surfing circuit. It had been 14 years since he had been captivated by this sport, after a family trip to Hawaii.. From that moment on she adopted him as her passion and that love was passed on to each of her three children, Maia (14 years old), Ema (17) and Franco (21).

Precisely the greatest of Radziunas He started competing at 11 and went from promise to reality in the last three years. He did not let the lack of titles as a junior affect him and this weekend, in Mar del Plata, he ended up being crowned Argentine Open champion, the same title as his father, but 32 years later.

“It’s something really special for me. Being able to write my name on that list of champions, which includes my old man and the most important surfers of the different generations”highlights the blonde who is today the star rider of Quiksilver Argentina.

On the last date, of the legendary La Paloma tournament, he added the few points he needed to be crowned (with 3610) and Nico Hermida was the winner. Vera Jaricz, meanwhile, took the victory of the women’s stage, breaking the streak of Ornella Pellizzari and keeping the women’s title, adding 3,470 points, 10 more than Pellizzari -she was third- and 20 more than Lucía Cosoleto, in the closest tournament in memory…

This edition, the 20th in history, took months to wait. It was scheduled for May but the endurance for 45 days was not enough to produce the best conditions to compete in the country’s famous big wave tournament. The swell never entered the southern cliffs of Mar del Plata and was then postponed until November and December.

They waited another 45 days but the lack of the best condition that makes it the top Argentine championship made it move to another beach, due to the commitment of the organizer (Quiksilver) to make the date and end the national circuit that it organizes with the Argentine Association. With the support of Ford, the Honu Beach resort received the best surfers to crown a very special year that also had very interesting results from Argentine surfers in the international arena. And it was a party, once again, with waves from smallest to largest that ended up crowning the winners.

“I had already proven to myself that I could beat the best and now I was able to achieve it with the tournament. It was something pending… Being Argentine champion has always been a goal, but in other years I had not been able to be in various stages of the circuit, due to being in international tournaments.

On this occasion I was given the dates. Being able to win three of the first four gave me a lot of peace of mind and luckily I was able to close it out. It feels incredible to be a champion,” admits Franco, part of the new national surfing army that, for example, includes Juan Cruz Ruggiero -he was runner-up in La Paloma after having won the last two editions-, Nazareno Pereyra -national runner-up with 3050 points- and Thiago Passeri, who returned from being U14 Latin champion in El Salvador and reached the semifinals in Honu, after eliminating the experienced Lele Usuna, the most successful of this tournament in history.

Embed – LA PALOMA in HONU – DAY 2

Papa Luis says that Franco had a strong connection with water from a very young age and that at the age of five he could stand alone on the board. “My old man never pressured me, he just introduced me to the sport and I quickly became captivated. I remember one day, I was 9 years old, and when I caught a big wave on the Yatch beach, I had a very special feeling. It was like being at Disney. There I felt the desperation to relive that feeling. It also became a regular plan with him. Instead of playing at home, we went surfing. Something that has spread to the entire family,” says the new national king.

Franco could not be champion in training but reaching the final of the Quiksilver La Paloma 2020, the bravest stop on the tour, and winning his first stage, allowed him to click. “He had lost several finals and it was like removing a thorn from me,” he says. Since that day his growth was impressive, in the water and in his physique, especially in 2022. “I acquired maturity in the sea, in decision making and it helped me a lot to have traveled a lot, to have competed with good results and surfed another type of waves. In addition, I kept my job, day to day. All this makes me feel calmer, less nervous, and that I can beat anyone,” he explains.

Martín Passeri is the most successful in national history, with six titles, and an authoritative voice because he is also Franco’s coach. “Today he is the best Argentine surfer, the one who has grown the most and the one who works in an orderly manner. There are several things that make it special. First, his approach. He doesn’t get demotivated when things don’t work out for him. When he did not have the expected results, such as not being a junior champion, he continued giving. He doesn’t skip any physical training or make excuses when things don’t work out. He is an example because he is healthy, coherent and disciplined. Mentally he is very strong, he has a family environment that empowers him and he is also a boy who likes to take risks in the water. He comes in your DNA. All these intangible characteristics enhance his talent,” analyzes someone who believes that his growth has to do with several things.

“The physical consolidation, his greater maturity in making decisions at sea and how well the trips did him. He still hasn’t touched the roof of it, not even close. He can easily be an elite surfer,” completes Passeri.

In 2023, Franco had the goal of being a champion and, at the same time, making a leap at an international level, something that he also feels he achieved. “I competed along the Olympic path, leaving aside what at the beginning of the year I thought was going to be my main focus, the QS tournaments of the World Surfing League. I was able to have several good championships and ended up qualifying for the Pan American Games in Santiago. I didn’t get the place for Paris 2024, but experience always adds up and you have to grow based on that,” reports Radziunas, who is already beginning to look askance at 2024.

The objectives are to have a good preseason, travel to Hawaii at the end of January to prepare for those waves for a month and then focus on the regional competitions to seek qualifications for the Challenger Series,” he completes.

The Argentine champion is already preparing the new step in his ascending career.

All champions


  • 2004: Andrés Di Marco
  • 2005: Maxi Siri
  • 2006: Maxi Prenski
  • 2007: Leandro Usuna
  • 2008: Agustín Bollini
  • 2009: Leandro Usuna
  • 2010: Lucas Santamaría
  • 2011: Maxi Prenski
  • 2012: Leandro Usuna
  • 2013: Lucas Santamaría
  • 2014: Leandro Usuna
  • 2015: Francisco Usuna
  • 2016: Felipe Suárez
  • 2017: Nahuel Rull
  • 2018: Leandro Usuna
  • 2019: Lucas Santamaría
  • 2020: Leandro Usuna
  • 2021: Juan Cruz Ruggiero
  • 2022: Juan Cruz Ruggiero
  • 2023: Nicolás Hermida


  • 2020: Ornella Pellizzari
  • 2021: Ornella Pellizzari
  • 2022: Ornella Pellizzari
  • 2023: Vera Jaricz.

Source: Ambito

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