Jake Halstead And Chelsea Tuach Win ASP North America Pro Junior Series
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Tuesday, September 10, 2013) – The 2013 ASP North America Pro Junior Champions have officially been decided, with San Diego's Jake Halstead (La Jolla, CA), 20, and Barbados' Chelsea Tuach, 17, solidifying their positions atop the rankings.
Jake Halstead's regional title came in his third season on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series and his impressive performance throughout the 2013 season places him among some of the world's finest up-and-coming talent.
"It is a huge accomplishment for me," Halstead said. "This is the third year that I have been competing in the ASP Pro Junior series. My first year I qualified for the World Junior event at Keramas in Bali and that was a memorable event for me, but I did not get the result I wanted. So this year I really wanted to do well and qualify for Worlds. I am stoked on how the year has turned out so far."
Halstead got off to a troubled start in 2013, missing the season-opening event at Sunset Beach due to injury. The hard-working regular footer returned to competition surfing in top form following rehabilitation on his ankle, eventually vaulting him to the No. 1 position following the Vans Pro Junior in Virginia Beach. The San Diegan's highlights would include a big win in Florida and a Final at the US Open of Surfing Pro Junior.
"I had to miss the first event of the year, but yeah, that just gave me all the reasons to do well in Florida and the US open," Halstead said. "I learned a lot during my down time and grew a better relationship with what I love to do; compete.
Halstead's victory came down to the wire when he was forced to battle then title hopeful Carlos Munoz (CRI), 20, in a heat for the crown in the Quarterfinals of the Vans Pro Junior in Virginia Beach. While both surfers would fail to advance out of the Round, Halstead's third place over Munoz's fourth would prove enough for the win.
"Yeah, going into the last event I knew it was going to come down to who made it farther between me and Carlos (Munoz) but little did I know I would have to surf against him in the quarters," Halstead said. "The waves were difficult and it could have went either way, but I knew I had to at least place higher than him. It was a hectic heat but just being able to fight for that win against such a good raw surfer felt really good. It definitely felt like a win."
Halstead's ASP North America Pro Junior Series victory solidifies his spot in the 2013 ASP World Junior Championships in Brazil, marking his second career appearance in the world's premier under-21 event. With more experience under his belt entering the final event of his Pro Junior career, Halstead has his sights sets on a big result in Brazil this year.
"Winning the series is definitely a confidence booster for me, but I do not want to let that get to my head," Halstead said. "Whether I placed first or fourth on the overall ratings, I am going to Brazil to win."
Barbados' Chelsea Tuach entered the 2013 ASP North America Pro Junior Series as a low seed, but quickly established herself as threat on the regional tour. While Tuach was forced to sit out of the US Open of Surfing Pro Junior, the Bejan's win in Florida would prove to be enough to solidify her position atop the rankings.
"Winning the North American Pro Junior Series felt great and gave me a lot of confidence because my goal for this year was to qualify for the ASP World Juniors," Tuach said. "I am really excited to push my surfing and see how I compete with the girls on an international level. I watched the ASP World Juniors last year, and the level was so high that it inspired me to really work hard and better my surfing so that for this year, I would be ready to compete with the best juniors and hopefully get a great result in Brazil." In addition, Tuach's run to the ASP North America Pro Junior Series Women's title places her as a frontrunner of budding talent emerging from the Caribbean.
"It's an honor for me to represent my little island whenever I travel overseas and show everyone that we do have a lot of talented up and coming surfing from Barbados and we are starting to make our mark in the surfing world. Coming from Barbados to compete is definitely different, having to deal with wetsuits and crowded waves, but its an eye opener and a great experience going up against so many more talented girls as we only have a few in Barbados."
Tuach is beginning to launch a campaign on the Women's ASP Qualifying Series and hopes to carry the confidence from her regional success over to her international campaign. "Winning the North American Junior Series was definitely a step in the right direction, it gave me a lot of confidence going into the QS events and I was excited to see how I compare at a higher level and how much further I have to go."
Jake Halstead and Chelsea Tuach will compete at the Floripa/SC ASP World Junior at Joaquina Beach in Floripa, Brazil from October 29 through November 5, 2013.