The Women's Pro Junior event got underway and upsets were scattered among the results by day's end. Increasingly familiar faces within the international ranks continue to show their talent around the world as top seeds Leilani McGonagle and Kirra Pinkerton were eliminated by Macy Callaghan and Teresa Bonvalot in their respective heats.
But, it was two-time Vans US Open of Surfing winner Caroline Marks who blasted the day's highest performance with a 9.50 single-wave score and heat total of 17.00. The 15-year-old's style has been compared to that of former World Champion Mark Occhilupo with her deep bottom-to-top combinations and deadly backhand when it was needed -- and showcased that potential today.
"I'm really confident coming here after winning it twice and also not feeling any pressure because of that, but every time you compete here it's completely different," Marks said. "The wave is always different, it's challenging which is really cool because you can win in different ways. It's fun with all the nicknames like ‘Occoline' and ‘Carolupo' that Damien [Hobgood] gave me and to even be compared to him is the best thing ever."
Reigning World Junior Champion Callaghan ripped apart the sporadic afternoon conditions with poise -- for only her second visit to the Huntington Beach beachbreak. The Australian unleashed a brilliant Quarterfinal performance on her forehand attack to earn the day's highest heat total of a 15.76. While no points are on offer for Callaghan, who is based out of region, the world traveler is gaining plenty of experience at each stop, which is only making her more dangerous for years to come.
"It's definitely different surfing here with all the crowds and I get a little nervous, but you just have to block that out," Callaghan said. "I get to travel with my mom most of the time and she's amazing with her support, I wouldn't be here without her. It's nice to have my team managers and coaches all around the world helping me out as well since I'm focusing more on the QS now and trying to qualify. This is only my second time here so I'm relying on that local knowledge from Micah [Byrne] since I didn't know much about this place which has been amazing."
Bonvalot played her role of spoiler to current No. 3 Pinkerton, but Meah Collins earned her spot into the Semifinals in the runner-up position and looks to catch up on the Pro Junior rankings.
Finals day of both the Vans US Open of Surfing Men's and Women's Pro Juniors will follow Men's QS10,000 Round Five action.