With four of the twelve competitors still left in the main draw—plus five still battling their way back in the repercharge—the PacSun USA Surf Team is still looking strong and gold medal hopes are still looking good. Head to page two to read the story and check out the rest of the photos. To watch the 2010 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships live, head to isaworldjuniors.com/newzealand10/Live.php?btn_live=_over.
Monday ISA Press Release:
The 2010 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship continued to roll on today, January 25, with blue skies and clean conditions served up for a mixed bag of international talent in Piha, New Zealand.
The world’s hottest up-and-coming surfers utilized their full competition repertoires, blending rail-to-rail carves, with new-age, fins-free moves and an innovative aerial game in the fun 3 to 5ft (1.5m) beach break conditions on offer.
The main event podium was alive with exciting action from the opening siren, with the Under 18 and 16 Boys Main Event Round 3 heats being run, before the Under 18 and 16 Boys Repercharge 3 heats hit the water.
The second podium was also throwing out some futuristic action, with the opening three rounds of the Under 18 Girls Repercharge being run, as well as the qualifying round three of the girls division.
But there was no one more innovative than Brazilian whiz kid Jesse Mendes. The electric goofy foot wreaked havoc in the clean conditions, busting out a variety of aerial moves to net one of the morning’s highest two-wave combined total (16.50).
Mendes, 17, got busy in peeling lefthanders, posting an 8.00 and 8.50 to easily defeat Tahiti’s Tamaroa McComb and France’s Ian Fontaine. “I’m feeling good," said Mendes. "That little left is working OK, but it’s not easy finding the waves that offer scoring potential. Once you do it is a great wave so you’ve got to be ready to rip when you get one. It’s a great left for goofy footers to do airs and strong moves."
Mendes added he tried to keep moving in the talent-packed heat. "I started the heat alright," he said. "I got a medium score pretty fast, but there were lulls from time to time so it was important to keep moving all the time and catch the good waves."
Team Brazil opted to bring only boys to compete in this year’s event. “I actually don’t even know exactly what happened," said Mendes. "The President changed in the federation, something like that… But I’m just here to win. It is sad yes, but the small team we have here is great. We feel really united and we’re giving the best for Brazil."
Fellow Brazilian Gabriel Medina was just as impressive, controlling his heat from the onset, bagging a 6.00 and 7.50 in the opening exchanges of the 20-minute showdown.
Medina finishing with a 13.50 total to defeat France’s Kieran Bullard and Australian Tim MacDonald.
Newly crowned ASP Pro Junior champion Maxime Huscenot breezed through to qualifying round four despite riding a backup board.
"I’m in form, but this morning I was worried because I just broke my magic board which I was riding in Narrabeen last week," he said. "I had to surf a board which I hadn’t ridden in two months and was scared of what was going to happen. But the board felt good and I’m stoked to get through."
Peru’s Martin Jeri continued the high-octane onslaught, unleashing a barrage of moves to claim the morning’s highest individual wave score (8.75) in his qualifying round three under 18 boy’s heat.
Raglan ripper Ben Poulter is the sole New Zealand boy surfer remaining in the main event round after squeezing through his third round Under 16 Boys heat this morning.
In a low scoring affair, Poulter hit back late in the 20-minute exchange, nailing a 6.50 to progress in second place behind Tahiti’s Tefaafana Arihoe. He was forced to hold off Hawaiian Kain Daly in the dying minutes of the heat, with the pair stuck in a paddle-battle until the final siren sounded.
"I’m so stoked," said Poulter. "I was so relieved to get through the heat." It was pretty intense for the last six or 7 minutes. But I had to do it. I felt pretty bad, but I’m so stoked to get through."
Fellow New Zealand surfer Johnny Hicks (Gisborne) continued to fly the flag for the host nation, tasting victory in his Under 18 Boys Repercharge Round 3 heat.
Hicks was on fire from the outset, grabbing a 9.00 and backed it up with a 6.75 to defeat South Africa’s Davey Brand and Australia’s Wade Carmichael, who became the second Aussie eliminated of the event.
"It’s the best heat I’ve had all contest," said Hicks. "It felt like everyone was cheering for me. It felt unreal."
Japan ace Hiroti Arai did his nation proud taking down USA surfer Parker Coffin and Australia’s Creed McTaggart in the last heat of the Under 16 Boys Main Event Round 3 heat. "I’m trying my best as a Japanese representative," said Arai. "I got one good wave and made it count. I’m very happy."
Boys Under 16, 2008 ISA World Junior Surfing Champion Keanu Aising (HAW) got his campaign back on track, top scoring for the day and the event in his Repercharge Round 3 heat, posting a highest individual wave score of 9.25 and two-wave combined total of 17.50 to book a spot in the next repercharge round.
"It’s amazing, I’m so happy," said Aising. "I couldn’t believe I got such a high score. In the other heats I couldn’t get over a 5 so I’m really happy."
The girls showcased their talents on podium two, with Australia’s Felicity Palmateer and Tyler Wright, South Africa’s Sarah Baum and Hawaii’s Malia Manuel taking wins in the under 18 girl’s qualifying round three.
Repercharge three of the under 18 girl’s also saw some explosive surfing with Johanne Defay (France), Leila Hurst (Haw), Garazi Sanchez (Spain) and Ellie-Jean Coffey (Australia) enjoying wins.
The afternoon’s heats were just as action packed on the main podium with Jarred Veldhius (ZAF), Martin Jeri (Peru), Tane Wallis (NZL), Natxo Gonzalez (Spain) and Brazil’s Lucas Siveira and Luan Wood notching victories.
Competition will continue tomorrow with an expected swell increase overnight.