An array of international and Australian junior surfers hit the water today for Day 1 of the Subway Surf Series Pro Junior event at Cronulla. The second event on the seven-event series was blessed by playful three-foot peaks as male and female surfers attempted to move through the first rounds of competition.
Ryland Rubens has made his maiden voyage to Australia worth the flight, moving through the first two rounds of competition at Cronulla. Rubens went berserk in the second round when he posted an impressive 14.80 heat total, earning a position into tomorrow's third round.
"That was fun," said Rubens. "This is my first time surfing in Australia and everything is so sick. It feels great to get a few little corners on the waves I picked which allowed me to progress through the heat."
Fresh off a recent victory at the Rip Curl GromSearch National Final, local surfer Jay Brown continued to build momentum as he tore apart the opening rounds of competition at his home break. Brown found a handful of rare lefts to unleash a flurry of powerful turns and seal a win in his first round heat.
"I think knowledge definitely played a part in that win," said Brown. "This sandbank wasn't actually here until a few days ago and it's been really fun. I'm going to just keep taking it heat-by-heat as the comp ramps up and hopefully, I can keep the ball rolling."
Having honed his forehand on Indonesia's punchy beachbreaks, Rio Waida felt at home in Cronulla's playful peaks. Waida linked a chain of innovative fins-free turns to post a respectable 13.75 heat total and take the win in the nail-biter of a heat with Finn Hill, Gabe Ley and Justin Becret.
"The waves are so fun out there. I feel like I'm at home," said Waida. "I looked who I had in my heat last night and knew they were all really good surfers, so I knew I'd have to do my best to beat them."
Renowned for his wild aerial antics, Mateus Herdy opted for more traditional power-based turns when he surfed his Round One heat. Herdy posted a massive 8.75 wave score, but failed to find a backup wave and fell into second position behind eventual winner Joel Buxton. Herdy turned heads recently at the World Junior Championship at Kiama and is looking to continue the same form in more events over the Australian leg of comps.
"I'm pretty happy to get through that heat," said Herdy. "I'm really looking forward to the other QS1000 events while I'm here in Australia and hopefully I can get a few good results. It's been a really fun trip so far."
Macy Callaghan has continued her tear through the 2017 competitive year, notching up a giant 15.00 heat total to claim a win in the first round of the Subway Surf Series at Cronulla. The recently crowned World Junior Champion put her opposition on the ropes and left her nearest rival Alyssa Spencer (USA) chasing a near perfect 9-point wave.
"Those right-handers have really been dishing up some nice waves," said Callaghan. "I'm stoked I found a few that allowed me to open up and do a few decent turns. If the conditions continue like this I think we will see some amazing surfing going down."
After claiming the first event on the Subway Surf Series at Bells Beach, India Robinson headed to Cronulla full of confidence. And it showed on Day 1. With an increasing onshore wind making conditions difficult, Robinson managed to find several diamonds in the rough and executed a barrage of technically sound forehand snaps.
"It's good to get that monkey off your back with a Round One win," said Robinson. "I really wanted to just get two quick waves out there as the onshore wind increased. Over the course of the event I'd like to get a few bigger scores if I can."
Having claimed a Pro Junior win at the same Cronulla Beach back in 2014, Kobie Enright felt right at home as she tackled her first round heat head on. Enright gained the upper-hand against her rivals, posting a 14.00 heat total and made it known she'd be a solid threat going into Round Two tomorrow.
"All the girls in this event absolutely rip and I'm coming off a first round loss in Victoria recently, so I was trying not to think too much before I went out in that heat," said Enright. "I've always loved Cronulla since I won a Pro Junior a few years back -- the waves are usually fun and it's a bit of a natural amphitheater."