Fisher Heaverly. Photo: AJ Neste/Surfing America
For the first time in ISA history, Americans go 12 for 12 to open competition: Heaverly and Young advance to third round
Salinas, Ecuador – Monday, March 30 – It was a different day, but more of the same for the PacSun USA Surf Team at the 2009 ISA World Junior Surfing Championships as all four American girls swept their first round heats in two to four foot surf. The wins mark the first time the PacSun USA Surf Team has ever run the table to open competition, going 12 for 12 in its first round heats.
The American side in the Girls Under 18 division set out to make a statement and succeeded. All four turned in a solid starts in their opening heats. PacSun USA Surf Team Head Coach, Joey Buran was especially impressed with the performance of the team's youngest competitor, Lakey Peterson.
"It was a good day. I was really pleased with how the girls surfed," Buran said. "But the biggest statement heat of the day was far and away Lakey Peterson. The speed and power and competitiveness of our youngest team member just goes to show that she's not just here for the experience, she's here to win. Lakey is the type competitor who gets stronger as a contest goes on, and for her to do that in her first heat shows that she could very well be a major player, a real contender, in this competition."
Buran also pointed to the performance of gold medal hopeful Courtney Conlogue, the bronze medalist at last year's games, saying, "Of course, then there's Courtney."
Conlogue handily won her heat in the warbley, La Jolla Shores-like beach break that produced a right and left depending on the tide. "I just wanted to get a heat under my belt, and get used to the ISA format," Conlogue said. "The team coming in is strong and we're coming here not only wanting to win but also believing we can. Being on this team this year is an honor. Everyone who's here, really wants to be here, and that can only bode well for us as the competition progresses."
On the Boys Under 18 side Nat Young and Fisher Heverly continued their dominance over the field as each advanced to the third round. Young, who surfed his first round heat in the morning, came from behind to win on the last wave of the heat. Showing he's a seasoned competitor, Young – or, Nat Joven, as the contest announcers have taken to calling him – surfed with what can only be described as a professional approach in his heat. After his first wave, he sat in third. After his second wave, he climbed into second place. Then, executing flawless, big, wrapping turns back into the whitewater and slashing into the lip with powerful top turns, Young took the lead and the heat on his final wave.
"I wanted to get a quick start. I did, but not a good one," Young said. "As the heat wound down, I knew it was close, I just didn't know how close. If you get the right wave, a five or a six isn't hard to get out there, and that's what I figured I needed."
Buran was more than pleased with how Young dealt with the pressure of a healthy heat exchange. "It was really neat to see the heavyweight in Nat come out," Buran said. "He never got flustered, he never panicked; he just handled. He kept his composure and showed why he's Nat Young."
The two slight misteps by the Americans – Chase Wilson and Evan Thompson will now do battle in Repercharge heats – were offset by the dominance and clutch performances of both Young and Fisher Heverly.
Affirming why he's the team captain, Heverly (somebody sponsor this kid already) surfed to a win in his second round heat with a carving, on-rail style and smooth finishing ability in critical sections despite running a fever and ailing from a stomach illness. "Fisher, even when the chips are down, he's grinding," PacSun USA Surf Team Assistant Coach, Sean Mattison said. "He did what he thought he'd do – he got the job done. That's Fisher."
If nothing else, the wins they've racked up in the first two days have affirmed that American surfing has a new culture: start quick, build scores and control sets. Their aim as a team, which filters down to each individual surfer, is to impose their will on the heat. "We really compete against ourselves," Buran said. "Our focus is on who we are and what we're doing. Nothing else."
Moving forward, Tuesday's a big day for the Americans and is the first real gauge as to where they sit amongst the competition. "You don't win World's in the first two days," Buran said. "It's a marathon, and right now we jut happen to be in the lead pack."
Stay updated on the team's progress at www.SurfingAmerica.org or www.PacSun.com.
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