The future of competitive surfing is in good hands. In Sydney, a number of the world's best junior surfers stamped their authority on the Carve Pro men's and women's QS1,000 at Maroubra.
The Qualifying Series is a melting pot. The surfers run the gamut of ages, and come from all over the world. QS competitors often talk about the sometimes dreaded reality of stepping from the Junior Series into the QS events, where the level of competition is a big jump up and competitors can spend years working their way up the ranks, dreaming of a spot on the elite Championship Tour.
A large part of the draw at the Carve Pro is made up of surfers ages 18 and younger who have made that jump into the competitive deep end -- and, yet they don't seem too phased. In fact, they're thriving: Of the surfers that made it to Round Three in Maroubra, 10 of the men and seven of the women were 18 and under.
One of them was Indonesia's next big thing, Rio Wiada, who has been turning heads at home for a while. Today he proved that he's no slouch in small, peaky summer beachbreaks, when he took out his Round Two competitors. Waida was closely followed into Round Three by 15-year-old Caleb Tancred.
Another young standout was South Africa's Jordy Maree, age 17, who also won his Round Two heat, finishing just above Japanese shredder Moto Tsuzuki. A couple heats prior, Byron Bay prodigy Kyuss King also moved his way into the seeded Round Three when he snuck a win over Bevan Willis by a 0.10 margin.
The women also had their fair share of juniors progressing. After finishing first and fifth at the World Junior Championship in Kiama recently, 16-year-old Aussies and best mates Macy Callaghan and Kobie Enright dominated in Round Two, which is not surprising. It was however, very encouraging to see Brazilian Taina Hinckel -- age 13 -- and India Robinson -- age 16 -- joining them in their quest.
Young surfers earning solid results is nothing new, but in a climate where half of the CT are in their late twenties, it's comforting to see the caliber of surfers that will be entertaining us for the next decade, and beyond.