In less than a month's time, the 2016 World Junior Champions (WJC) will be crowned on the shores of Kiama, on the New South Wales South Coast. The best junior surfers on the planet are ready to do battle down under.
Wessely Dantas, (younger brother of Championship Tour (CT) star Wiggoly Dantas), dominated his way through the South American Junior Qualifying Series, (JQS) to finish as top qualifier. He joins an illustrious list of South American champions to represent his region at the WJC.
"It´s an honour to represent South America at the World Junior Championships," Dantas said. "I´ve seen so many great surfers win this title, like my brother, Deivid Silva and others, and to receive it myself is a dream come true. I´ve been working hard. It´s been very intense and I think this title reflects all the time I´ve been putting in. Now my focus is on Australia and my goal is to win the World Title there."
Hawaii is the undisputed home of surfing, so it is no surprise that the calibre of junior surfers coming out of the region is extremely high. Noa Mizuno narrowly took out the Men's JQS in Hawaii and is off to the WLC in January 2017.
"Representing Hawaii means everything to me, it's my home and not many people get opportunities like this," Mizuno said. "I look forward to putting myself, as well as my legacy, to the highest point I can obtain and becoming the 2016 World Junior Champion."
Brisa Hennessy was dominant in the Women's Hawaii JQS with a win, a second and a fifth on her way to the series win and a spot at the WJC.
"It feels so good representing Hawaii," Hennessey said. "I'm always very proud competing for the amazing island I call home. I'm looking forward to surfing against, and meeting all the best juniors from around the world."
Titouan Boyer claimed the European Men's Junior Title this season with two impressive wins at the Junior Pro Biscarrosse and the Peña Txuri Junior Pro Sopela.
"I'm super stoked to surf in the World Juniors this year, especially after a tough season last year in 2015," Boyer said. "I know a little bit of Australia, but not this beach, I'm really look forward to discovering it. I haven't set myself any goals, I'm going to go there and surf each heat focused on the job to do and I'll see how I go. I hope to have a lot of fun and enjoy the whole experience."
Teresa Bonvalot has absolutely dominated this season all-across Europe with three wins from five events, plus a 2nd and a 3rd place. She's already surfing the Qualifying Series (QS) as well, with numerous good results. Bonvalot spent the 2016 summer surfing in the Australasia QS leg and is looking forward to heading back down under.
"I'm really excited to participate in the next World Juniors at Kiama. I have never been there but I like Australia a lot, especially this time of year," she said. "I hope we'll get good waves on Kiama's sand banks so we can give a good show to all the visitors."
The WSL World Junior Championships has been secured for Kiama by the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event will run from January 4-13 2017. Check back at www.worldsurfleague.com or on the WSL App for more information on the event and for the live webcast.