After two days of perfect conditions, only six heats of the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge have been completed and not one of the 18 select world pro juniors has been eliminated. It's a scenario only possible in an event like the Global Challenge, which is throwing these elite juniors into a World Tour-style competition in a unique venue.
Organizers again ran three high-quality heats across the prime incoming tide with surf fanned by offshore winds, which allowed performance levels to go through the roof.
"We're expecting and patiently waiting for some big waves over the coming days, but these conditions are perfect to begin the event," " said co-contest director Andrew Stark from Surfing Australia. "These opening rounds give these future stars some real quality contest time and familiarize them with the break."
With a prestigious title and $165,000 in prize money up for grabs, event organizers are ensuring surfers will have the maximum opportunity to showcase the next-level of surfing talent.
Today's heat winners were Brendon Gibbens from South Africa, Balinese local surfer Dewa Made Ardika and Brazilian Jesse Mendez. Gibbens won the day's opening heat combining excellent tube rides with stylish and cutting-edge on-face surfing.
"I love surfing this wave, " said the 18-year-old Cape Town surfer after his heat. "I've free surfed here a number of times in the past few years, and it's a favorite for sure. I'm really unknown and in this high-profile field I can just go about my surfing and do my best. Hopefully that might be good enough to win."
The local Indonesian surfers excelled today. Dewa Made Ardika lead throughout in his heat to take a popular win, while Mustofa Jeksen was unlucky, relegated to third position and Round 2. In the dying seconds of the heat, French surfer Marc Lacomare took a late ride, smashing the sections with some precise top-to-bottom moves to snatch second place and advance straight to Round 3.
Ardika's win was the heat of the day. Second and third place surfers Davey Cathels of Australia and Brazilian Alejo Muniz showed flashes of brilliance throughout the heat, both falling on some huge moves suggesting both were refining their surfing here as the event now heads into the all-important elimination rounds.
When Round 2 hits the water, consisting of just two three-man heats made up of the six third-place surfers from Round 1, the two surfers who finish last in these two heats will be eliminated, while first and second go through to the man-on-man Round 3 heats.
The familiarization and warm–up sector to this event is complete — from here on, it's cut throat elimination heats as all these surfers chase the $20,000 first prize purse.
Heat 1: Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 15 .27, Sam Wrench (AUS) 12.83, Charly Martin (FRA) 4.17
Heat 2: Billy Stairmand (NZ) 16.34, Granger Larson (HAW) 11.67, Dillon Perillio (USA) 6.66
Heat 3: Kai Barger (HAW) 12.24, Arashi Kato (JPN) 10.03, Noa Deane (AUS) 7.17
Heat 4: Brendon Gibbons (ZAF) 11.00, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.83, Mustofa Jeksen (IND) 8.40
Heat 5: Dewa Made Ardika (IND) 12.00, Davey Cathels (AUS) 11.67, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.26
Heat 6: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.00, Nat Young (USA) 10.84, Clay Marzo (HAW) 6.73
When Round 2 resumes, the following heats will be surfed:
Heat 1: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Clay Marzo (HAW), Noa Deane (AUS)
Heat 2: Charly Martin (FRA), Dillon Perillo (USA), Mustofa Jeksen (IND)
The Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge is a unique specialty series launched by Oakley in 2008 to give young surfers the opportunity to compete at some of the best surfing locales around the world. After a hugely successful inaugural year, the 2009 series acquired international momentum and qualifying became a main priority for many of the world's top juniors.
For more information log onto oakleyprojunior.com
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