OFFICIAL ISA PRESS RELEASE:
It was like victory at sea in Piha today, with the second day of the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship getting underway in stormy 10 foot faces (2.5-3m) plus waves in New Zealand.
Earlier in the day, contest organizers opted to put the day’s action on hold for three hours with wild weather lashing the main contest site.
After the delayed start, the Under 18 boy’s qualifying round two competitors’ battled large seas and strong winds in the race for all-important round three berths.
Local star Alex Dive (Mt Maunganui) kept his country’s hope of a gold medal alive in the third heat of the day, finishing behind Brazilian star Gabriel Medina to book a spot in round three. In a see-sawing affair, Medina took an early lead with a 6.67 wave. Dive hit back netting two scoring waves (4.83 and 6.17) to take over the lead.
But Medina wasn’t finished uting three carving maneuvers before finishing with a critical white-water floater to snare a heat-winning 8.00 ride. Medina’s 14.67 total was the highest combined heat total of the morning.
Seventeen-year-old Dive said he was relieved to get through to the next round of competition. “It was really tough to get in the right spot,” he said. “It was all over the show out there. I knew where to sit, having surfed here a little bit over the years. Luckily for me something came through.”
The former U/16 New Zealand champion added that he was enjoying competing in his own country. “It’s so cool. I’ve had so much attention from the media, which I don’t usually get because we’re usually competing in other countries. So it’s good for me and the New Zealand Team.”
French ripper Kieran Bulard (Reunion Island) was the day’s top individual wave scorer, despite finishing behind Portugal’s Frederico Morais. It’s the second time that the Frenchman has competed for his country and he’s proving to be a good team member.
“It was good to get through,” said Bulard. “I got a good wave at the ning and then I paddled back out to get to the line-up and got no more waves for the rest of the heat. I was really stressed. But it was good I passed through that heat into the next round.”
Post heat, Bulard said his heat-high 8.50 wave felt good, “I just paddled hard and came into a double-up section and made a good turn. Then I made a good bottom turn before a carve off–the-top, then another turn. They were three really good turns.”
Australian ace Tim MacDonald (North Stradbroke Island), 17, inflicted the biggest upset of the day beating newly crowned ASP World Pro Junior Champion Maxime Huscenot (France, Reunion Island) and Under 16, 2009 ISA World Junior Champion Keanu Aising (Hawaii) in the opening heat of the day.
The young Australian said his win was a shot of confidence. “I feel so good right now,” said MacDonald. “But out there you never really know who is going to get through. The conditions were tough and I’m glad I got through.”
Other round two winners included Ian Gouveia (Brazil), Evan Geiselman (USA), Ian Fontaine (France), Evan Thompson (USA), Thomas Woods (Coolangatta, AUS) and Tamaroa McComb (Tahiti).
Competition is expected to continue tomorrow with qualifying round two Under 16 boy’s and repercharge one Under 16 Boys scheduled for the main podium and repercharge one and two of the Under 18 boy’s planned for podium two.