Epic surf and the world’s up-and-coming junior surf stars produced an unforgettable day at the 2010 edition of the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in New Zealand today.
And what a show it was. With only two days to go in the prestigious tournament, competitors hit their straps, shredding apart the barreling 6-8ft (1.5-2m) waves that marched through for day six of competition at Piha Beach.
USA surfing sensation Kolohe Andino dealt with the pressure in a consummate fashion, setting the standard for the day with both the highest individual wave score (9.25) and two-wave heat total (18.00) in his main event round 4 of the Under 16 Boys´ heat.
The skilful natural foot continued on with the form he displayed in the opening rounds, backhand blasting the peeling lefthanders to beat fellow USA surfers Parker Coffin and Trevor Thorton and Tahitian Tefaafana Ariihoe. Final scores: Andino (18.00), Coffin (14.00), Ariihoe (10.65) and Thorton (9.00).
“The waves looked kind of hard out there,” said Andino. “They had a lot of wall and it was howling offshore, and not like anything I surf back home. But a bomb wave came through when I paddled out and it set up a good heat for me. It worked out pretty good for me.”
Andino, 15, added he’s not getting ahead of himself heading into the business end of competition. “The contest has really just started for me,” he said. “There are so many rounds and it’s really hard to get to the finals. I’m just going to take it heat by heat and make every heat count. I just want to make it through.”
Joining Andino as Main Event Round 4 Under 16 Boys heat winners included Australian Matt Banting and Hawaiian Koa Smith.
South African surfer Beyrick De Vries rose to the occasion in his main event round four Under 18 Boys heat, taking down Portugal’s Fredericko Morais and the Brazilian pairing of Gabriel Medina and Jesse Mendes.
In a heat marked by interferences, De Vries stuck to himself to amass a heat-winning 15.00 total. The Brazilian duo of Medina and Mendes both scored interferences in the heat to be relegated to the repercharge.
“It’s always nice to get through a heat,” said De Vries. “Especially to win gives my confidence levels a little boost. I’m feeling good.” Post heat, De Vries said he steered clear of his fellow competitors in the action-packed affair. “At this point of an event everyone wants it so bad,” he said. “It’s so close you can just smell the finals. People are willing to do anything to win. I just stayed away from my fellow competitors and tried to do my own thing.”
Tahiti’s double act of Tamaora McComb and Jocelyn Poulou also tasted victory, taking line honors in their main event round 4 Under 18 Boys heat.
Frenchman Dimitri Ouvre, who resides in Guadeloupe, impressed the large crowd that gathered with his classy tube riding ss in his repercharge 4 Under 16 Boys heat.
In a barrel-fest of a heat, Ouvre weaved through two Piha tubes to take the heat with the day’s second highest combined heat total (17.90). Ouvre scored an 8.25 and 9.00 to defeat Spain’s Kosme Molera and Hawaiian Kaimana Jaquias. “This was probably one of the best heats of my life,” he said. “I wanted to get out there again. It was unbelievable.”
New Zealand’s hopes remain with Sarah Mason (Cabarita, AUS), Ben Poulter (Raglan) and Alex Dive (Mt Maunganui) after all three surfers progressed through their heats today.
Mason won her sudden-death repercharge round 5 Under 18 Girls heat, Poulter progressed through his main event round 5 Under 16 Boys heat, while Dive took line honors in his repercharge round 5 Under 18 Boys heat.
Team Australia celebrated their national day with a mixed bag of results. Lennox Head’s Tyler Wright and Trigg’s Felicity Palmateer followed in the footsteps of Banting to remain in contention in the Under 18 Girls division.
Wright taking a win and Palmateer finishing in second in their respective main event round 4 Under 18 Girls heats.
North Stradbroke Island’s Tim McDonald was also victorious in his repercharge round five Under 18 boy’s heat.
Fellow Aussies Ellie-Jean Coffey (Crescent Head) and Creed McTaggart (Margaret River) were both eliminated from the prestigious event.
The semi-finals of the ISA Aloha Cup, where five competitors from the top participating nations battle it out in a tag-team format, were held on the main event podium to round out the day.
South Africa came up trumps in semi one beating Australia, New Zealand and Portugal. Team South Africa accrued a 52.40 total to progress alongside Australia (50.35) into the final.
Semi two was a tight affair, with Hawaii finishing in the lead with a 46.3 total. In second was France (40.60), with Tahiti just 0.45 of a point behind on 40.15 and Peru in fourth on 36.55.