Day Two of the 2017 World Junior Championship at Kiama, NSW, Australia, kicked off as a slightly larger, slightly glassier version of day one along the sand bank at Bombo beach. The major difference, however, was the looming specter of early elimination in Round Two. It's a long hike for many competitors to get to Oz for this event; a pat on the back and "thanks for coming" after just two heats is a bitter pill to swallow.
Despite that potential disappointment, there's an incredible level of self-awareness among the teen contingency: a maturity and media savviness beyond their youthful exteriors. Not to mention their meticulous attention to detail in terms of their tactics and equipment. All of which speaks volumes to the coaching and support crews making things happen behind the scenes.
For better or worse, there's no millennial version of a young Occy rocking up to the mic and calling his counterparts "wankers." Today's breed is simply more refined.
Opening the day in Round Two, Heat 1, featured 16-year-old Hawaiian phenom Finn McGill, fresh off a win at the 2016 Pipe Invitational and a podium finish at the HIC Pro during his breakout North Shore winter season. The teenager from Sunset Beach bounced back from a tepid performance in Round One, buzzing and fizzing from the start, surfing with a higher level of energy and urgency than he exhibited on day one.
Another top-seeded Hawaiian coming off a disappointing Round One loss was Noa Mizuno. Mizuno is quick and stylish, with elements of Kalani Robb and Rob Machado in his approach. It's an approach cultivated by north county San Diego legend and former World Amateur Champ Doug Silva, who dialed in his protégé overnight for a tight win over Floridian Chauncey Robinson.
The heat of the day was a South American barnburner between Peruvian Alonso Correa and Brazilian Kim Matheus Marcondes. Both goofyfooters came out swinging in the rippable lefts, with Correa coming out on top with the highest total heat score of the day. Kudos to Marcondes for his counter-punching. His losing heat score would have been enough for victory in all but two of the day's other heats.