NewsHYSDO Pro Junior at Turtle Bay ResortLeila Riccobuano

Regional Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Junior Champs to Clinch Title at Turtle Bay Resort

The final Pro Junior event of the WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui regional season - the Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization (HYSDO) Pro Junior at Turtle Bay Resort - will close out the year's highly competitive 18 and under surf circuit with multiple titles on the line, including the Men's and Women's Regional Junior Champion award.

With a holding window from October 13 - 19, the HYSDO Pro Junior at Turtle Bay Resort is in its third year of distinguishing the region's most talented junior athletes and will also grant six surfers a spot into the high-profile World Junior Championship in Taiwan this December. The WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Men's and Women's Regional Junior Champion will each receive a travel award in the amount of $1,000 USD presented by HYSDO to help fund their 2019 competitive campaign.

"I'm really excited that HYSDO stepped up to support this year's Pro Junior at Turtle Bay Resort," said Joel Centeio, HYSDO Board Member. "HYSDO is all about giving back to our junior surfers and Hawaii youth in general and on behalf of the nonprofit we're proud to show support and help uplift this generation of surfers. I'm super stoked to see the top juniors get after it!"

The two-day competition is led by top seeds Wyatt McHale, 17, in the Men's division, and Gabriela Bryan, 16, in the Women's division. Last year, Kauai's Bryan ended with a Semifinal finish in the event and has since stormed the 2018 women's regional Junior and Qualifying Series (QS) tours with three wins, among other top placings in WSL competitions around the world.

Winner of the 2018 Wahine Pipe Pro. Bryan charged proper Backdoor conditions during the Wahine Pipe Pro in March and ultimately ended on top. WSL / Chlala

Bryan's year kicked off in victorious fashion at the Sunset Pro Junior in January, then was backed by another win at the Papara Pro Vahine Open Tahiti in March and followed by yet another impressive first place finish at the Wahine Pipe Pro. More recently, she won the Pantin Junior Pro by Gadis in Spain to keep her momentum rolling. The powerful regular-footer leads both the regional Junior and QS rankings and heads into the HYSDO Pro Junior at Turtle Bay Resort as the shining star.

"I am really excited for the last regional Pro Junior at Turtle Bay Resort and am just going to take it one heat at a time," said Bryan. "I have been at home for awhile and have been training a lot and surfing everyday." With two years left to compete on the Pro Junior circuit, Bryan plans to prioritize the regional schedule alongside higher-rated QS events around the world. "In the meantime, I will just continue working on improving my surfing," she concluded.

North Shore's McHale is continuing to build his reputation at waves like Pipeline, one of the most revered and expert surf breaks in the world, located a mere four miles down the coast from Turtle Bay Resort. This year, McHale enjoyed two podium finishes - 4th place at the Sunset Pro Junior and runner-up at the Papara Pro Junior Tahiti - to solidify his position at the top of the regional Hawaii/Tahiti Nui junior rankings. Although the athlete is currently in the lead for the regional title and his confidence level is high, he is keeping his expectations reasonable.

"I don't feel too much pressure, the goal is always to win the event but another goal is to drop my low result which was a Semifinal at the Pipe Pro Junior," said McHale. "So I'm really looking to make the Final at the least. Next year I will definitely be competing in a lot more events on the QS and looking to hopefully get a spot in the Vans Triple Crown at the end of the year. I will also be doing the Pro Junior events because they are fun and hosted at really good waves!"

Wyatt McHale of Hawaii advances in first from round one heat three on to round two of the Sunset Open held at Sunset Beach, Hawaii Regional Junior front runner McHale puts it on rail. WSL / Keoki Saguibo

Nipping on the heels of Bryan and McHale for the regional title are 2018 World Junior Champion Finn McGill, 18, and Leila Riccobuano, 15, both who are entered to compete in the HYSDO Pro Junior at Turtle Bay Resort. The draw also includes 2017 Regional Junior Champion Barron Mamiya and defending event winner Ocean Macedo in the Men's division, and 2017 Regional QS winner Savanna Stone in the Women's division. The pool of athletes is known to put on a strong show for spectators who line the grassy cliffs at Turtle Bay Resort, and surfers look forward to the first pulses of an expected El Nino winter season in Hawaii.

The right-handed point break is known to hold up to 15 feet Turtle Bay Resort is the North Shore's gathering place for waves, entertainment and accommodations during the prime big wave season. WSL / Heff

The challenging right-handed reef break known as Pool Bars on Oahu's North Shore is notorious for attracting waves from most swell directions including N, NW and NNE, and can handle wave face heights up to fifteen feet. A favorable venue for high-performance surfing, competitors will be tested on their fundamentals and heat strategy, and many will use this event as a warm-up for the incoming Vans Triple Crown of Surfing season, set for November 12 - December 20.

In addition to presenting the HYSDO Pro Junior, Turtle Bay Resort is also a partner of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and offers exclusive booking rates during the 2018 winter surf season. Discounts for up to 25% off and $289/nightly rates are available by entering the codes below based on travel dates.

For bookings outside of November 12 - December 20, save up to 25% by booking online here. For bookings between November 12 - December 20, rates start from $289/night by entering Group Attendee code 898465 online here.

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