The 2019 Key Sun Zinke Sydney Pro Junior kicked off the first of nine days of the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro with some of the world's most promising junior surfers tearing apart the junky two-foot surf.
Local Manly surfer George Pittar (Manly, NSW) showed his knowledge of the shifting beachbreak conditions, picking the eyes out of the best waves of the heat and as a result, was rewarded with a solid 15.65 two-wave heat total. Pittar was greeted by much local fanfare on the shoreline from his local North Steyne Boardriders Club following the heat.
"It's epic surfing a comp that is right here on my local beach," said Pittar. "I knew that there would be the potential to get some decent scores out there, but you had to make sure you were on the best waves. It was an awesome feeling coming in to be greeted by the guys I do boardriders with and it makes the win so much sweeter."
Currently sitting in second position on the Australia/ Oceania Junior Tour rankings, Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc, Vic) made sure he solidified his spot at the top end of the ratings, taking a massive round one victory. The Victorian natural-footer executed a handful of stylish and polished forehand wraps to notch up a 15.05 two-wave heat total and take a convincing win.
"There were a couple of waves out there that gave up good opportunities," said Huxtable. "My gameplan was to get one good wave early and then wait to chase a backup. I try to forget about the rankings at each event, and just surf, but it would definitely be good to go up a spot or keep myself where I am by the end of this event."
Coming off an applauded performance at the nudie Australian Boardriders Battle National Final, Alister Reginato (Sunshine Coast, Qld) continued to show the level of talent as he emerged in his opening exchange at Manly. Reginato found a handful of diamonds in the rough over the course of the exchange to post an excellent 8.25 wave score for a variety of critical backside snaps and cement his spot into the second round.
"I was pretty lucky that I stayed busy and got in rhythm with the waves," said Reginato. "It was hard to develop a heat strategy out there when the waves a bit mushy and there's not one take-off point, so I just opted to move around a lot. I'm stoked with how this year is going so far. My surfing is where I want it to be and hopefully I can keep this run going."
Holly Williams (Sunshine Coast, Qld) synced her powerful backhand repertoire with the mushy righthanders on offer, finding a handful of decent pockets. Williams knocked out a chain of impressive snaps to post a respectable 7.25 wave score and take the win ahead of an also impressive Carly Shanahan (Wooli, NSW).
"I'm so happy with that win," said Williams. "The waves had a bit of potential if you found the right one and thankfully I got one good one that allowed me to get the win. I set the goal to make the final and go from there in this event."
Having claimed the last two Pro Junior events in Australia, Molly Picklum (Shelly Beach, NSW) made it clear she was keen to bag herself a hat-trick, putting on a consistent performance in her opening heat. Picklum remained busy in the heat, catching a total of eight waves over the course of the heat and finished with a 12.85 two-wave total.
"It was kinda hard out there and a bit washy so I tried to go with it but I feel like I never quite found a good wave," said Pickum. "As a Pro Junior, this is such a massive comp and it's a huge infrastructure so it would be great to get another win here and put myself in a solid lead coming into the next leg of events."
The 2019 Key Sun Zinke Sydney Pro Junior will serve as the opener to the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro.
The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 rated events will feature some of the world's best surfers as they look to kick their 2019 competitive campaigns into gear prior to the start of the 2019 Championship Tour (CT).
The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is a collaboration between World Surf League and Surfing NSW to run Sydney's largest surfing event at the iconic Manly Beach.
For more information and 2018 highlights, check out sydneysurfpro.com. The live broadcast will be available on worldsurfleague.com
The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is proudly supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. The event is also proudly supported by Vissla, Sisstrevolution, Northern Beaches Council, Hotel Steyne, WSL, KeySun Zinke and Surfing NSW.