Eighty-eight junior surfers got their moment in the spotlight today as the Subway® Surf Series Pro Junior kicked off in challenging one-to-two foot peaks at Avoca.
Sandon Whittaker (AUS) used local knowledge to his advantage, posting the highest heat total of the opening round, a 16.40. The powerful goofy-footer flew over a series of dead sections on tricky waves to perform some massive hooks and technically sound turns to claim the victory.
"I've been surfing this sandbank everyday while the QS1000 event was on last week and the waves I surf most days are pretty similar to this," said Whittaker. "Hopefully, I can use some of this insight to my advantage tomorrow."
Ethan Ewing (AUS) continued to steamroll through heats, taking a convincing win in his opening exchange. The Stradbroke Island native found a handful of diamonds in the rough and as a result was awarded a 14.40 heat total and a spot in Round 3.
"The waves aren't amazing, but there's still some really rippable peaks out there," said Ewing. "I've been loving my time here in Avoca. I've just been surfing a lot and doing some training with Micro (Glenn Hall - former WSL World Championship Tour surfer)."
Caleb Tancred (AUS) made light work of the tricky conditions posting two excellent wave scores (in excess of eight points). The lightweight natural-footer performed an eclectic mix of innovative maneuvers for a 17.00 heat total and book his spot in Round 3.
"I thought if I could blow my fins out the back of the wave my turns might standout a bit," said Tancred. "My goal was to make more than one heat and I've made two now, so I'm pretty happy to have got this far. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling tomorrow."
Harley Ross-Webster (AUS) caused one of the biggest upsets of the event eliminating recent Subway Surf Series Pro Junior winner Quinn Bruce from the event in Round 2. Ross-Webster linked explosive turns together with ease in the difficult conditions and clocked up a two-wave total of 15.50.
"Both Kehu and Quinn beat me at the recent Subway Pro Junior in WA, so it feels nice to get one back on them," said Ross-Webster. "I hope it fuels my fire a little bit going into tomorrow."
Alysse Cooper (AUS) took out a heat stacked with former event champions and state title finalists. The Northern Beaches surfer revelled in the tiny lefts as she surfed her way to a respectable 11.20 heat total, eliminating a couple of high seed's from the event.
"I just wanted to stay really busy," said Cooper. "When I first saw the heat draw I was like ‘wow, that's a stacked heat,' and I'd have to do some decent surfing to get the nod over all the surfers. I'm just happy to have got it out of the way honestly."
The Subway® Surf Series form part of the 2016 WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), providing the winning athletes with an opportunity to win a coveted world title, at the WSL World Junior Championships in early 2017.