Allianz ASP World Junior

Junior World Championships: McGonagle Tops Field in Round 2

Highlights: Allianz World Junior Championships, Day 3
World's Best Juniors put on a show on Day 3 of the Allianz ASP World Junior Championships, with Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) leading the pack.

Another mammoth day of competition at the Allianz ASP World Junior Championships completed the elimination second round in clean 3-to-5-foot surf at Ribeira D'Ilhas.

Facing elimination, surfers stepped up to the plate and brought their A-game to keep their Portuguese campaign alive toward the ultimate junior crown.

Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 18, talented regular-footer hailing from the iconic Pavones in Costa Rica, nailed the highest score of the event so far, a near-perfect 9.57 for a succession of big arching turns on the outside section of the wave, before pulling into an inside barrel on his way to shore.

McGonagle scores a 9.57 in Round 2
Costa Rican Noe Mar McGonagle scores an incredible wave and milks it all the way in for a 9.57 in Round 2 Heat 4 of the Allianz ASP World Junior Championships.

“It was just an incredible wave,” Mcgonagle said. “The outside was really fun and had a couple carves and snaps, and on the inside I got a little barrel. This place is incredible, especially at low tide, and I'm super happy to advance and get a good heat under my belt!”

Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 17, refocused overnight and came alive in his Round 2 matchup against Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) to post a solid 16.10 heat total and advance into the third round. The Californian phenom displayed multiple variations of his top turns game and freed his fins on occasion to please the judges panel.

Kanoa Igarashi (USA) Igarashi taking things over the lip - WSL / Damien Poullenot/ Aquashot

“This wave is so hard, a lot of good guys lost yesterday,” Igarashi said. “But I'm just stoked to get another 30 minutes out here alone, every wave I catch I get more experience. When at look at Vasco (Ribeiro) for example, he's got so much experience here and he surfs the wave so well. I think this was a great way to get to know the wave a little better.”

Italo Ferreira (BRA) 19, current World No. 8 on the QS and on the verge of qualifying for the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, came back from a surprise Round 2 relegation yesterday and put on a solid performance in the opening heat. With a pronounced taste for big maneuvers and power-surfing, Ferreira felt right at home on the long righthanders and showcased his signature backhand hooks under the lip for an excellent 8.43.

Italo Ferreira (BRA) Ferreira was on point in Round 2. - WSL / Damien Poullenot/ Aquashot

“I'm super stoked to make it out of Round 2,” Ferreira commented. “I am feeling a little bit more confident now and the waves were absolutely perfect today. We have a similar point at home in Bahia Formosa and I feel good surfing here. Gabriel (Medina) winning last year's Junior title is a great example to follow and I hope I can walk in his footsteps and then qualify for the WCT.”

In the all-Portuguese Heat 11, Miguel Blanco (PRT), 18, topped Joao Kopke (PRT) in a series of exciting exchanges. The regular vs. goofyfoot battle didn't disappoint with each surfer selecting great waves, but eventually it was Kopke's fronthand attack that was rewarded with the heat win.

Miguel Blanco (PRT) Blanco on a screamer. - WSL / Damien Poullenot/ Aquashot

“Fortunately I found my rhythm right at the beginning there, and caught a couple of fun waves that got me confident,” Blanco reflected. “It's a shame I had one of my good friend in the heat, cause this event is really important for us Portuguese and losing one of the team isn't fun.”

Surfers will reconvene for a 6:30 a.m. call local time Tuesday, for a probable re-start of the men's competition at Ribeira d'Ilhas.