For the third consecutive year Shepard Park in Cocoa Beach, Florida will play host to the Ron Jon Vans Junior Pro, in conjunction with the Beach 'n Boards Fest. From March 12- 15th, the best North American male and female surfers under 20 will compete for valuable rankings points and $15,000 in prize money, at the beach made famous by 11 times WSL World Champion Kelly Slater. The Ron Jon Vans Junior Pro is the third stop on the 2015 WSL North American Junior Series and will ultimately play a part in qualifying competitors for the WSL World Junior Championships (Worlds) to be held in January 2016.
"We are very excited to again be partnering with Vans and also with the WSL on one of the nation's premiere Junior Pro events; for both boys and girls," said Debbie Harvey, President of Ron Jon Surf Shop. "The waves and weather look to be with us this year so we are set for a great weekend of surfing in Cocoa Beach."
Coming into event number three, Florida native Daniel Glenn from New Smyrna Beach is currently leading the series rankings. Glenn earned his first Junior Pro win at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior in Barbados to kick off the year, and kept the momentum going with a second consecutive finals berth, finishing in 4th place at the Sunset Beach Pro Junior. He's excited about being home in Florida and is managing the nerves of being on top of the rankings.
"Of course there is an at home advantage for me. I get to sleep in my own bed and be around family and friends during the event. I can't wait to surf some heats close to home," offered Glenn, when asked about competing at in Florida. "I don't feel pressured at all, leading the rankings. I just want to surf another good event so I can lock in a spot for the Worlds this year."
"I started training hard at the end of last year (before Barbados)," said Glenn, in regards to his recent competitive form. "My results started to get better and my surfing feels stronger than ever. I'm inspired to do my best this year because it will be my last year to compete in the WSL Junior Series."
In the Junior Women's event, Chelsea Tuach from Bridgetown, Barbados is coming to Cocoa Beach in the top spot, following a win at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior at her home break. She elected to skip event #2 at Sunset Beach to compete on the WSL Women's Qualifying Series (QS) in China. She is currently sitting at #6 on the QS rankings following two Semifinals finishes already in 2015.
"This is my last year in the Junior Series and I already have an event win under my belt, so I'm hoping to qualify again for Worlds and try to take the Juniors title," said Tuach, when asked about her competition goals. "For the last two years I have finished in the Semifinals at Worlds and it would be nice to end my last year with a win there."
"This year has been great so far, I was in China in January for the first WQS 6000 and I managed to come away with a 3rd place finish," said Tuach, about her recent success competing on the Women's QS. "I'm definitely stoked with that and I'm hoping to get some more good results this year to earn a spot on the 2016 Womens Championship Tour."
Last year's Ron Jon Vans Men's Junior Pro event was won by South Carolina's Cam Richards. It was his first WSL Junior Series win, and propelled him to a 2nd place finish on the overall rankings, which qualified him for Worlds.
"The waves were very small last year and very tough to surf. Winning had a lot to do with luck, but I just tried my best to do big turns, as that is what was most difficult when it's small," reflected Richards. "Hopefully we have more waves this year, but I just like to surf and compete, regardless. There really isn't any way to prepare for an event like this, you just hope you get the right waves in your heats and keep advancing."
The Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior will kick off on Friday, March 13th with a potential 8:00am Start for either the Men's or Women's event. Both events are on Stand by and a decision will be made at 7:30am for the day's schedule.
For more information on the Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior and other events happening at the Beach 'n Boards Fest visit www. beachnboardsfest.com.