Competitors in the final Subway® Surf Series Pro Junior for 2016, battled through a day of small waves at North Cronulla as Macy Callaghan claimed the World Surf League (WSL) Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) title, as well as the women's event division. Kehu Butler took the win in the men's division.
Callaghan put the icing on the cake in what has been a stellar beginning to 2016, claiming her fifth Pro Junior event this year in addition to the WSL Australian JQS championship. In a wave-starved final, Callaghan managed to make the most of the limited opportunities, posting a nine-point ride, which left fellow finalist Kobie Enright chasing an elusive 7.51. As a result, Macy also earned a spot in the upcoming World Junior Titles.
"My biggest goal this year was to win the JQS series and a few Pro Junior events, so I'm happy that I achieved them," said Callaghan. "It's a bit of a bummer that the waves dropped so much by the finals, but my dad just told me to get whatever I could and fortunately I got that nine-point ride. This whole series has given me the best platform to go onto the Qualifying Series next year and to have my name on the same list as some of my heroes is a great feeling."
After bagging a handful of impressive results over the course of the 2016 WSL Australasian JQS Series, Kobie Enright was unable to find any score of substance in the final and had to settle for a runner-up finish.
"I'm so stoked with the way this year all panned out," Enright said. "Last year wasn't great for results, so I'm happy to get to a few finals over the course of this series."
Kehu Butler made his trans-Tasman journey worth while taking out the Junior men's division. The powerful naturalfooter made light work of the weak conditions, executing a variety of technically sound arcs and snaps. After claiming victory in the final, Butler was greeted by family members who performed the traditional Māori haka dance in celebration of the win.
"Having my family on the beach doing the haka as I got carried up is something I'll remember forever," said Butler. "We have small, tricky waves that are similar to this at home, so I've been training a lot in conditions similar to this. My boards were dialed in really well and fortunately it all came together for me."
Sandon Whittaker nearly completed a doubleheader victory for the Central Coast, holding the lead for a solid portion of final. Ultimately, however, Butler managed to find waves with better scoring potential. The runner-up finish is Whittaker's best result to date in a Pro Junior event and it puts him within striking distance of qualifying for the World Junior Titles.
"This is my first year doing the Pro Junior events so to make the final is a pretty good feeling," said Whittaker. "My goal at the beginning of the season was to get as many points as possible, but to make the final and now to potentially qualify for the World Juniors is a dream come true."