Since 2015, the RVCA Pro Junior pres by Jack's Surfboards and Banzai Bowls Men's event has been a decisive factor toward who gets a leg up heading into the final stop of 2018 in Barbados. But, for the first time, the women will join them and add one extra stop to their season -- adding a bit more tension to the rankings September 21 - 23.
Here's what you need to know about this major event in the North America Pro Junior year that joins Newport Beach, California's, historically rich event, the 30th annual City of Newport Beach Surf Championships:
History in a Glance
56th Street Jetty has played an incredible role in Newport Beach's surfing history and is back once more this year as the backdrop to the RVCA Pro Junior for a fifth consecutive year. But, it's a special year for the Pro Junior Women as they will contest in this event for the first time since its inception. From peeling, lefthand barrels to tough windsweel, this event has seen an array of what the Pacific Ocean has thrown at it and competitors come prepared for whatever Mother Nature will throw at them.
This event, coinciding with the Newport Beach Surf Championships, is now a piece of the city's historical legacy as providing some of North America's best talents 18-and-under with an opportunity at vital points toward their season. But, the NBSC has had a major impact of its own through the last thirty years.
"We've had many [Championship Tour] surfers compete at this event in the past from elementary divisions to QS, Specialty, and Pro Junior level, such as Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, Rob Machado, Andy Irons, Taj Burrow, Kalani Robb, Pat Gudauskas, Kolohe Andino and many other top QS surfers," said Contest Direct Darren Brillhart. "We're stoked to see this event continue after all these years. RVCA has always supported local youth down here, it's also great to have them take this event on as it's right in their back yard."
No Room for Error
But, for the Pro Junior side of competition, things are going to be lining up for a hefty event with less than 300 points still separating No. 4 Kade Matson from new No. 1 Tyler Gunter, after making the Vans Pro Junior Finals -- as well as the Vans Pro QS 3,000 Final. Not to mention only another 130 points from Matson and No. 5 Bo Raynor who is knocking on the door for a Top 4 World Junior Championship qualifying spot.
The women's side of competition is a bit more wide open as Kirra Pinkerton heads into this event with a 1,200 point lead after her incredible start to the year. However, the battle for No. 2 is on with 155 points between Samantha Sibley and No. 7 Valentina Resano after Sibley's run to the Vans US Open Pro Junior Final pushed her ahead of reigning North America Regional Champion Alyssa Spencer.
The Women's Opportunity at Hand
Not only are a meaningful 1,000 points up for grabs in the women's event, but also a chance at claiming the first-ever RVCA Pro Junior Women's title at the famed 56th Jetty. This year has witnessed four Women's QS events be added to the schedule in North America alone and that success now trickles over to the Pro Junior side of things to help progress women's professional surfing even further.
"This is another great opportunity for our regional women to learn what these events are all about and get some experience at the pro level," said North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins. "We are grateful to RVCA for this addition and giving these young women a platform to showcase their surfing even more. It adds more strength to the schedule, especially at a place like 56th Street Jetty, and makes things more interesting for the World Junior Championship qualification picture. We're really excited for this one and can't wait to see what these men and women do in Newport."
The Men and Women RVCA Pro Junior pres. by Jack's Surfboards and Banzai Bowls will run September 21 - 23 at 56th Jetty, Newport Beach, California, alongside the Newport Beach Surf Championships.