Macy Callaghan and Morgan Cibilic have taken out the final event of the Australia / Oceania JQS, the Subway Pro Junior Gold Coast. Duranbah Beach turned on fun peaky 2-to-3 foot waves for the final day of competition which made for an epic display of surfing from some of the regions most talented junior surfers.
Morgan Cibilic hadn't made it to a final before today and is the first to admit that until the final two events, his competitve season had been pretty average. That all changed at D-Bah when the stylish natural footer came up against Sunshine Coaster Noah Stocca. Stocca stuggled to find a score of consequence in the final leaving Cibilic to take the win of his career.
"This is my first Pro Junior final. I had a really poor start to the year results wise so I'm stoked to take this one out." Cibilic said. "At the start of the year I couldn't even get through my first round heats and was doubting myself. To come back from that is amazing. Next year I'm aiming for the QS, these last two results have boosted my confidence so much."
At 16 years of age, Stocca also has a bright future ahead of him and will look to compete in the WSL JQS again in 2018 .
"The waves were good all weekend and everyone was surfing really well," Stocca said. "This is my best result for 2017 so I'm hoping to carry this momentum into next year."
Reigning World Junior Champion Macy Callaghan faced off in the final with good friend Kobie Enright. It would be the last heat the two would surf on the JQS and it seemed fitting that it was a final, as the two have dominated the series for the last few years.
"I haven't done many Pro Juniors this year so to finish off with a win is awesome." Callaghan said. "The dream is definitely to make the Championship Tour in the next few years but I'm just enjoying it and having fun for now, not putting too much pressure on myself. It was awesome to finish of my Junior season with a win in fun waves in a final with my best friend."
Coming off the back of her first event win of the series on the Sunshine Coast in April, Enright surfed exceptionally well all event. The Coolangatta local posted some very high heat scores in the quarter and semi finals.
"Macy's my best friend, there's no one I would rather surf my last pro junior heat at home with." Enright said. "It definitely feels nice to make a final and post some solid scores. My next event is a QS 3000 in Japan, this result gives me some confidence leading into that. I'm travelling there with Macy which is cool."
Although he was uncharacteristically eliminated in the second round, Sunshine Coaster Reef Heazlewood had safely locked himself in at the top of the Australia Oceania JQS rankings. Heazlewood's solid season included three event wins and sees hime the regional Junior Qualifying Series Champion for 2017.
"I'm so stoked to win the regional JQS," Heazlewood said."It was my main goal this year and it feels great to achieve that. It was a bummer to get knocked in the second round here but overall I'm happy with my performance this year. The Subway Surf Series is amazing, it's so good for the juniors to get that experience of surfing back-to-back events and aiming for a title while travelling to different locations. It's great preparation for the Qualifying Series and beyond. It's been a great 2017 so far, I'm over the moon."
Topping the Women's Rankings at the end of the season was 13-year-old Zahli Kelly who came from behind to overcome Alyssa Lock who was eliminated in the Quarterfinals. The eventual event winner Macy Callaghan ousted Kelly in equal 3rd but it was a good enough result to see her climb too first on the ratings giving her a spot in Kiama next January for her first ever WJC.
"I'm super happy with this result, it was cool to surf against Macy," Kelly said. "It would have been nice to make the final but to win the JQS is amazing. I definitely didn't expect to take it out this year. I'm really excited to head to the WJC, I never thought it would be something I'd achieve this year."