The Gold Coast will play host to the second stop of the 2018 Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior series presented by Billabong this weekend for two huge days of surfing, kicking off on Saturday.
The event will see over 100 of the best 18 and under surfers from Australia, Japan and New Zealand battle it out for precious ratings points towards a 2018 World Surf League Australia / Oceania Junior Qualifying Series. A changing forecast throughout the week has left options open for event organizers, who are keeping a close eye on the southern beach breaks.
"There are plenty of great banks around the Gold Coast at the moment so we have our fingers crossed that this swell will arrive overnight. We've been closely watching the charts all week and have no doubts that we will find waves," said Surfing Queensland Event Manager Dev Lahey.
Fresh off a win at the NIB Pro Junior in Newcastle earlier this year, Northern NSW surfer Callum Robson will look to continue his competitive momentum this weekend as he makes the trip north to the Gold Coast. Robson is currently sitting at the top of the Junior Men's leaderboard just a handful of points ahead of Gold Coast local Dextar Muskens who will also be a major threat this weekend.
"It's always good having an event at home, it would be unreal if we got to surf one of the points because that rarely happens in a competition," Muskens said. "This is my last year on the Juniors so I'm really hoping to get through some heats and then focus on the Qualifying Series."
Both Robson and Muskens will be looking to secure a podium finish this weekend before they set their sights on the fourth stop of the Australia / Oceania JQS in Cronulla this August.
With one Pro Junior win each up their sleeves so far in 2018, both Zahli Kelly and Alyssa Lock will be vying for top honors at home this weekend. The pair have met in countless Finals in their junior careers and finished in first and second in the JQS rankings in 2017 with Kelly just 60 points ahead of Locke. At just 14 years of age, Kelly has a huge year ahead of her including competing in some of the World Surf League's Qualifying Series events.
"We ended up on the same side of the draw a lot last year so we've become pretty good friends," Kelly said. "I'm doing a few of the QS 6,000 events this year. I'm really focused on getting through some heats and keeping my options open between this and the Junior Qualifying Series."