Sixteen-year-old North Shore local Barron Mamiya is on a red-hot competitive roll. Following his victory at the Pipe Pro Junior this week, he now has a hat trick of WSL Pro Junior wins under his belt already in 2017. And it's still only March.
He took the win in Tahiti at the Papara Pro Junior earlier this month, and at the Sunset Pro Junior back in January. "I love Pipe, I've always wanted to win here," said Mamiya. "This has to be the best win for sure."
The teenager was also a standout in treacherous conditions for the winner-take-all, last-chance-qualifier heat at the Volcom Pipe Pro in January against an eight-deep laundry list of Pipe specialists (Kauai's Tyler Newton came out on top in that heat).
Mamiya trains under the wings of long-time Hurley team coaches, Joel Centeio and Sean Ward, and gives credit to their tutelage. "Last year I knew I could surf Pipe but I didn't know if I could surf small waves. After my edit a lot of people were telling me, ‘Oh, he can only surf big waves, he can only get barreled.' So I think just working super hard and trying different boards, getting used to other waves has been a big help."
Still not quite old enough to vote or drive legally in most places, Mamiya is already eyeing a run at the WSL Qualifying Series in 2018. He'll graduate from high school early this year, then put his attention full time on competing professionally. "Next year it's going to be head down for the QS for sure," said Mamiya. "I want to get points, I want to qualify."
With only one pro junior event left in the region this season, his win at Pipe this week also locks up the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui ratings Title and a spot at next years WSL World Junior Championship (won in 2017 by WSL CT rookie Ethan Ewing).
Late-season conditions at Pipeline for the event were spectacular. Six-toeight-foot, glassy ropes, with both Backdoor and Pipe options offering high-scoring opportunities. North Shore junior standout Finn McGill scored a perfect 10 in the Final but it was still not enough to finish in the top two.
Second place went to 14-year-old Maui prodigy, Eli Hanneman, whose technical ability dwarfs his tiny frame. For a kid who consistently drops stunning free surf edits, he's got a strong competitive act to go with his tricks and air game.