The anticipated swell arrived at the Rangiroa Pro Junior today and Round 1 and 2 of competition were both completed in excellent four-to-six foot (1.8 meter) barrelling right handers. The competitors were revelling in the clean conditions and put on an impressive show with barrels, carves and airs happening all afternoon.
Soli Bailey (Byron Bay, NSW/AUS) is the most experienced campaigner in the 2014 Rangiroa Pro Junior draw, finishing runner-up in 2012 and equal 3rd place last year. Today he was on point once again, posting excellent scores and showing his full bag of tricks with airs, tubes and gouging turns.
"I really like this wave, it's fun and really high performance," Bailey said. "It's one of those waves were you can go out and find yourself in the wrong position and not find any waves or score some of the best waves. In my Semifinal last year I think I only scored two points, but I'm feeling good this year. I've been surfing, fishing and eating a lot of fish, I love this place."
O'Neill Massin (Tahiti) scored a near-perfect heat the Rangiroa Pro Junior this afternoon, notching a 10.00 and 9.50 (out of a possible 10). Massin charged deep barrels and unloaded devastatingly powerful turns to finish with the highest two-wave heat-total of the event thus far.
"That's the first time I've had scores that big," Massin said. "I had so much fun out there, I love this wave and I can't wait for my next heat. I just do my best and have fun."
Harry Bryant (Noosa Heads, QLD/AUS) got off to a flying start at the Rangiroa Pro Junior today, winning both his Round 1 and 2 heats. Bryant put on the best backhand performance of the day as he threaded the needle of multiple tubes and landed big airs.
"I got off to a really slow start and couldn't find any waves," Bryant said. "Then a really nice one came through and I was thinking of going for some turns but it opened up and I scored a little barrel and then fluked an air at the end. I'm stoked to get the win and the first heat butterflies out."
Harrison Martin (Cronulla, NSW/AUS) was both lucky and unlucky today, he finished 2nd in a close heat to advance into the next Round behind Harry Bryant, but he paid the price hitting the reef hard and was left cut and bruised.
"I went to finish my last turn and fell off and ended up hugging the reef," Martin said. "I've got a few battle scars, but I'm so happy to be into the next round, it was totally worth it."
Kai Hing (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) was also on fire today, posting a monster 19.05 out of a possible 20 after slotting into some deep tubes followed but powerful carving turns.
"The surf started to get worse a heat or two before mine, but then it just turned on," Hing said. "I hope I haven't peaked too early. I'll be so stoked if we get waves like this for the rest of the competition. We had a couple of lay-days and I was just itching to get that first heat out of the way and it ended up working out pretty good for me."
This is the first of two back-to-back events in French Polynesia, with the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series moving to Tahiti next week for the Papara Pro Surf Festival that will host a pro junior event for the men, the Tahiti Nui Pro Junior, the Vahine Pro Junior for the women and an open ASP 1-Star Qualifying Series event for the men.
The Rangiroa Pro Junior will run from April 2 â€“ 6 and the Papara Surf Festival will run from April 8 â€“ 13