SEBASTIAN, Florida (Thursday, March 11, 2010) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Pro Junior Series kicked off today in stormy one-to-two foot (.5 metre) surf at the iconic East Coast break of Sebastian Inlet with the ASP Grade-3 Ron Jon SI Pro presented by Skullcandy. Some of America's hottest up-and-coming talent braved the stormy Florida weather to hunt down the valuable ratings points on offer towards qualification for the 2010 ASP World Junior Tour while narrowing the 80-man field down to 32.
The Ron Jon SI Pro marks the first of eight events slated for the 2010 ASP North America Pro Junior Series calendar and with all competitors out the qualify for this year's inaugural ASP World Junior Tour, a solid start at the season opener could play a vital role in their chance of competing against the globe's best for the title of ASP World Junior Champion.
Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 19, who finished second on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series last year after leading the circuit throughout the season, looked hungry to start his year off strong once again with a solid heat victory in the Round of 64.
"The surf is about two-foot and the wind is creating these wedgy little peaks," Perillo said. "It's kind of fun and it's good to win my first heat of the year."
Perillo, who suffered a severe ankle injury in the back half of the 2009 season, is continuing to rehabilitate the nagging injury and is almost back to 100 percent, but is still cautious of a reoccurring problem.
"My ankle is almost completely better, but sometimes when I push hard on a turn it still doesn't feel completely right," Perillo said.
Evan Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 16, who was a runner up at Sebastian Inlet in 2008, used his familiarity of the break to navigate through the day's tricky conditions while advancing through to the Round of 32 and is hungry to establish himself as a frontrunner on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series and is hoping to establish himself as a top threat with another standout performance at this year's Ron Jon SI Pro.
"I'm really going to focus on the ASP Pro Junior contest this year," Geiselman said. "It's my goal for sure to qualify for the World Junior Tour and I was a runner up here at Sebastian in 2008, so hopefully I can get another good result here to start my year off strong."
Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA), 15, was another standout performer in today's tough conditions, netting the day's highest single-wave score of a 9.00 out of 10 in addition to the day's highest heat total of an impressive 16.83 out of 20.
Tomorrow's action will see the ladies hit the water with the ASP Grade-2 Skullcandy Junior Pro. Event organizers are expecting to crown both men's and women's champions by day's end.