The Allianz ASP World Junior Championships launched today in clean 3-to-4-foot peeling rights at the iconic Ribeira d'Ilhas pointbreak.
This standalone event will crown the 2014 ASP World Junior Champions and offer invaluable access into the top rated 2015 Qualifying Series events.
Bronte Macaulay (AUS), 20, was the absolute standout surfer on the opening day of the Allianz ASP World Junior Championships, collecting two near-perfect scores and the highest combined heat total of the competition so far, an excellent 17.50 out of 20.
â€œI'm pretty happy to get a win and to be skipping Round 4,â€ Macaulay said. â€œIt probably wasn't the best surfing, but I got through, so that's all that matters. It's really tricky out there, I sat there and waited at the start of the heat for about 8 minutes or so and was just waiting for a wave to come. I blew it a bit, there were some good sets that could have been ridden, but I was on the inside... I'm here to win the world title, but it's definitely not an easy task with so many great surfers. I just want to try to take it heat by heat, and get some surfing in, win or lose.â€
Meah Collins (USA), 15, had a huge come-from-behind victory in the second round where she was comboed with 8 minutes remaining and managed to tie her opponent's 16.53 heat total, taking the win courtesy of a highest single-wave score of a 9.33.
â€œI surfed a 5-minute heat basically," Collins said. "I really had all my waves in the last minutes there and it was kind of a heart-attack heat for me and my mom. I thought well If I can get one right now and another one on the way back out..., and that's what I did. You just have to stay calm and know that it's not over until the buzzer rings.â€
In a slow lineup around the high-tide mark, Collins unfortunately couldn't match Macaulay's rhythm in their afternoon bout and will have to surf the elimination Round 4 when competition recommences.
Mahina Maeda (HAW), 16, surfed a solid heat in Round 1 belting a 9.03 and later confirmed her great form with an exciting series of exchanges in the third round to come out on top of a talent-filled heat against defending World Junior Champion Ella Williams (NZL) and Teresa Bonvalot (PRT).
â€œI'm trying to stay away from the losers-round, so getting through another heat is amazing,â€ Maeda stated. â€œI had a hard time against Teresa and Ella. They are such amazing surfers. It was really tough out there, so we made the most out of these conditions and hopefully it's looking better tomorrow. I'm getting more confidence through each heat, and hopefully I get more heats like this.â€
Keely Andrew (AUS), 19, who had a hard time dispatching of Portuguese talent Bonvalot in their first round matchup, later took her surfing to another level and put on a dominant performance to advance into the Quarters.
â€œMy first heat was a bit of a shaky one, so it was good to get a better heat,â€ Andrew commented. â€œI hope I can keep building in every wave I get, and keep going through heats. To take home the title would definitely top off my year. I've had a really good year on the QS, so to take it home to Australia would be amazing. This is my last event of the year, so hopefully I can finish strong.â€
The young Queenslander, who surfed against the World's Best as a wildcard in the Roxy Pro Gold Coast earlier this year, went vertical several times to unleash her power and collect excellent scores.
Barbados surfer Chelsea Tuach (BRB), 18, won the first heat of the event and went on to advance straight into the Quarterfinals with a win in Round 3. The talented regular-footer built momentum during her matchups and found the best scoring opportunities to display her powerful fronthand snaps and collect big scores.
â€œWith the high tide it gets a little bit trickier to paddle into the waves,â€ Tuach explained. â€œSo I was sitting in the back waiting for the bigger sets, but every time a set came I was too far out. I had to go and sit right on the inside and that was where the sets ended up coming. I had a really hard start. I could only get one-manoeuvre waves because the waves were closing out on me, and then when I got on the inside, I got runners that could let me do a three or four maneuvers, so I was glad they came to me in the end.â€
After a narrow win to start her campaign in the opening round, Tuach looked revived in her second appearance and capitalized on the confidence building with each big score she received.
â€œI've changed my boards and I was feeling more confident in every wave I got on the board,â€ Tuach continued. â€œKnowing that you have good scores, you surf with more confidence and feel more relaxed, so I could really go for it and see what scores I could get.â€
If conditions allow, competition will resume with Round 4.