Caleb Tancred and Sophia Fulton take out Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong. Zahli Kelly and Te Kehukehu Butler crowned 2018 Australasian / Oceania WSL JQS champions, sealing themselves a spot into the upcoming World Junior Championship.
Caleb Tancred and Sophia Fulton have taken top honours at the final event on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series, the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong.
The Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong also saw Zahli Kelly and Te Kehukehu Butler crowned 2018 Australasian / Oceania WSL JQS champions, sealing themselves a spot into the upcoming World Junior Championship.
Caleb Tancred hit his stride in the final executing an array of powerful backside maneuvers to post a 13.00 two-wave heat total. This most recent victory was Tancred's second win for 2018, having previously taken out the Key Sun Zinke Pro Junior at Manly in February of this year. Tancred moved to the third position on the 2018 JQS rankings following the result.
"I'm over the moon with this result," said Tancred. "My whole goal was to make the World Junior Championship and this win means that I qualified. The waves were difficult and I knew all these guys were capable of laying down big scores, so I knew I had to stay busy. I had my coach Micro (Glenn Hall) and a few mates down here watching as well which made it so much better to win in front of them."
Also mirroring her result at the Key Sun Zinke Pro Junior at Manly earlier in the year, Sophia Fulton took top honours in the Girls division at Cronulla. Fulton's lightning fast backhand attack proved to be her advantage in the final, mustering up an impressive 13.25 two-wave heat total. As a result, Fulton went into the third position on the 2018 JQS rankings.
"I was a bit nervous right at the end of that heat," said Fulton. "I knew I needed to back up my score with something decent, but thankfully I got that first one that put me in the lead. If I didn't have that, I knew I could have been in trouble. I hadn't done amazingly this year in the Pro Juniors, so it was really important for me to finish with a good result."
With his runner-up finish in the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Billabong Te Kehukehu Butler claimed the top spot on the 2018 JQS rankings, overtaking previous series leader Callum Robson by less than 100 points in the final point score. Butler put on a valiant effort in the final of the event to post a 12.15 two-wave heat total. The JQS victory means that Butler is the first Kiwi to win the Australasian / Oceania WSL JQS rankings since Maz Quinn nearly 20 years ago.
"This is such a great feeling," said Butler. "I knew the ratings were tight between Callum and I, so whoever finished higher in this event would have won. Thankfully I was able to get the win. Being the first New Zealander since Maz to win the Junior Series makes the victory so much sweeter. He has always been someone who I've looked up to, so to follow in his footsteps is an awesome feeling."
In what was her sixth final in as many JQS events, 14-year-old Zahli Kelly (Cabarita, NSW) managed her cement down her position as rankings leader, with her third-place finish at Cronulla. Kelly surfed brilliantly over the course of the 2018 junior season, claiming one victory, three runner-up finishes, one third and one fourth place finish. Kelly will be Australia's top female seed in the upcoming World Junior Championship.
"I'm so stoked to win this for the second year in a row," said Kelly. "This has been such an awesome year on the Junior Series and there are so many good surfers who were looking for the title as well. I can't wait for the World Junior Championship now."
Following her second-place finish to sister Bodhi yesterday, Cedar-Leigh Jones (Avalon) managed to get one back over her elder sister in the final today, claiming the runner-up spot in the Girls division. Cedar linked together a chain of impressive backhand snaps and carves to post a respectable 11.10 two-wave heat total and take out the runner-up spot.
"This is my first final of a Pro Junior so I'm stoked," said Leigh-Jones. "Surfing a final against my sister is always fun and it pushes me so much harder. I want to beat her and she wants to beat me in a heat, even though we get along so well out of the water."