2009 Quiksilver ISA World Juniors: Day 1

Conditions: 3-4 foot onshore lefts
Events Held: Boy's 18 Under Round 1, Boys Under 16 Round 1
Nature's Call: Fun the first few days, swell coming mid week.
Predictions: Best ISA ever

Best junior's contest ever? Could be a tough call considering we've only run one day of the 2009 Quiksilver World Junior Championships in Salinas, Ecuador, but here's what the event has going for it so far:

1.A contest venue with a long ({{{300}}} yards), if mushy, left point.
2.A promising surf forecast.
3.A stacked field.
4.Perfect weather.
5.Talent on the beach
6.Air conditioning, tinted windows and fast internet at the contest site.
7.Purple wristbands from the all-inclusive Barcelo Hotel entitling the wearer to enjoy UNLIMITED food and drink all day every day.

As you can see, #7 really puts this comp over the top. The groms, who either fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, are not staying at the Barcelo and, lacking the purple wristbands, cannot indulge in its amenities, seem to be stoked too. The opening ceremony yesterday had thousands of locals lining the streets to cheer them on, and the kids responded in kind by singing and dancing through the streets. Today at the comp, the beach has been packed and blazing hot, and the action in the water has been solid. Standout performances were turned in mostly by goofyfoots like France's Dmitri Ouvre, Brazil's Ian Gouveia (son of Fabio) and American Chase Wilson, as the point's tricky sections were easier to read on the forehand. A few backsiders, however, like 2007 champ Garrett Parkes and 2008 King of the Groms winner Maxime Huscenot of France managed to look good as well.

Both were stoked to surf the wave with only a couple other guys out because warm up sessions have been intensely crowded. Picture all 264 competitors all out at the point at once battling for waves and you'll get the idea. "I think I did my first turn in my heat," said Parkes, "I didn't get a thing when I was freesurfing."

In the team standings, powerhouses Australia, Brazil, Hawaii and the USA had no one fall to the repercharge making today an unqualified success for all of them.

A comp like this with teams from places that aren't exactly surfing strongholds like Germany, Italy, Morocco, Ireland and Canada is filled with feel good stories. The best of Day 1 had to be Rex Calderon of Nicaragua. Nica is the 2nd poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and Rex was flying his nation's flag by himself yesterday in the parade. He didn't have a board to ride in the contest. Luckily a couple of Tom Eberly shaped sticks were shipped down for him and he waxed one up for the first time in his heat today. "I was so happy that I was leading the first half of the heat," said Rex. "I'm honored to be here representing my country."

Rex didn't win his today, getting bumped into second by Tahitian Haunui Aumeran, but he advanced through the first round and guaranteed himself at least two more surfs. No doubt he made some folks at home proud.

For updates on the 2009 Quiksilver ISA World Juniors, stay tuned to SURFINGMagazine.com, and http://www.isaworldjuniors.com