A Few Minutes With The Champ: 2006 Billabong Junior Champion Kekoa Bacalso Sits Down To Discuss His Title

SURFING: Congrats on your win.

Kekoa Bacalso: Thanks.

So how did it feel walking off the beach knowing you're the best Junior in the world?

It was like the most amazing feeling ever. I mean once that horn blew I just screamed and went crazy. I looked on the beach and my boys were just f**king jumping up and down. I just got the biggest hugs from all the boys and they carried me up the beach. It's a hell of a feeling.

The guy that you took on in the final seemed kind of tired in the final. Were you feeling it as well?

He was telling me in fact that he was super tired. I was kind of running on adrenaline though. It was the last heat of my junior career. I just wanted to go out with a bang. And I just got a couple waves and combo-ed him.

Was there someone in the contest that you took on where you thought that if you got past them you had a decent shot at the title?

My semi-final with Hank Gaskell was definitely the hardest heat of the event. I was kind of on my back the whole heat. He had me beat until there was only a minute left. And then somehow I scored high on a wave.

He's just been such a super strong competitor. He's been beating me a lot back at home so he had me rattled. Just going into that heat I was just super nervous and I just wanted to get him back.

Halfway around the world to take on one of your boys from home.

We were talking before the semifinal even started and we were like "No matter what - no hard feelings. And whoever makes it through to the final better win it!" Just psyching each other up on that.

You originally weren't even supposed to go to this contest were you?

They only were supposed to take the top 4 from Hawaii, and at the qualifying event, I didn't make the cut. I think I ended up at like 5th or 6th. And I was up in Hawaii hanging out and I got a call from the ASP. And they just said 'You wanna go to Worlds?' And I just went 'Hell yeah I wanna got to Worlds'. So a couple days later I bought a really expensive ticket and was on my way.

So where is your hardware? Where is that massive trophy now?

My trophy? Oh my god that is a long story. They lost it.

Who lost it?

Quantas [Airlines]. I was carrying it on the airplane and as I was checking it through security they were like 'Nah, you can't take that on the airplane - it's too heavy'. I started fuming I was so pissed off. So they made me check it.

So I jump on the airplane and when we landed I asked if I could get my trophy back. And they tell me that I have to go down to baggage because it's connected with all my other bags. So we walk down there and pick up my bags. No trophy. I just started losing it. I was the last one in the baggage claim and I was just freaking out. That's the one thing that I wanted to make sure made it back home. I was going to stuff it in my backpack but the thing weighs like 50 pounds.

But you got it back, right?

Not yet. Just this morning I woke up to the guy telling me that they had my trophy. I was pretty pissed still. But they are sending it back to Hawaii so I'll meet it at home.

By winning this event, you get a pretty high seed in the WQS this year, right?

Yeah. It definitely makes it a lot easier. I mean it's not that comfortable of a seed, I'm still gonna have to perform and get some results under my belt. But it's definitely gonna help me out in the long run since I had such a bad WQS seed coming into this year.

Any final words?

Thanks to Faith for getting me into the contest and my mom and dad for all the support. The tell me to never give up and always keep my head up. So definitely my head is up now and hopefully I can make a bang on this tour.