Day five of the Jeep World Junior Championship featured what might be the biggest upset of the entire event yet, with South American regional No. 1 seed Mateus Herdy being taken out by the crisp backhand attack and tactical smarts of South African Adin Masencamp.
"I feel like Mateus and I are a closer match if the waves are a bit bigger, but I thought he might have an edge in the smaller waves today," Masencamp said. "I knew he would bring his air game but I just focused on my strengths and it paid off."
Riding a board shaped by Graham Smith, father of fellow South African and World No. 4 Jordy Smith, Masencamp took what he learned from his Round Two heat earlier in the morning to find the best wave of the entire day. The lanky regularfoot from Cape Town posted a single-wave score of 8.33 for three big snaps on a shoulder-high left runner.
"I surfed earlier and was really familiar with where to sit, so that definitely helped me through what was always going to be a hard heat."
One of the unfortunate eventualities of the World Junior Championship is the notion of regional friendly fire. As the brackets tighten, teammates and countrymen and women are bound to cross paths, leading to unlikely showdowns.
Regrettably for the impressive Japanese team, the situation occurred early on in Round Three as two of their standout surfers -- Yuji Nishi and Momoto Tsuzuki -- faced off in Heat 2. In a classic contrast of both stance and methodology, Nishi -- the powerful regularfoot -- prevailed over Tsuzuki -- the technical goofy -- in a tight affair separated in the end by a little over half a point.
As might be expected, many of the Japanese surfers are revealing stylistic shades of Japanese/American hero and Championship Tour surfer Kanoa Igarashi. None more so than lightfooted naturalfoot, Joh Azuchi, who showed Igarashi-like grit and tenacity while dispatching Californian Ryland Rubens in a contentious battle in Heat 4.
Top-seeded Hawaii native Cody Young, Bali's Rio Waide and Australia's Sandon Whittaker advanced through to Round Four with varying degrees of difficulty. "That was a slow heat but I'm really glad we ran because I was super pumped to compete today," Young said. "These smaller conditions are definitely not my strong suit but I just worked hard on staying positive which is really important on days like today."
Look for more friendly fire heats to take place when competition resumes, this time between Hawaiian housemates Finn McGill and Ocean Macedo in Heat 7, and Australian rivals Liam O'Brien and Mikey McDonagh in Heat 9.
Round Two results:
Heat 11: Mikey McDonagh (AUS) 13.27 def. Lucas Wrice (AUS) 11.80
Heat 12: Adin Masencamp (ZAF) 14.66 def. Te Kehukehu Butler (NZL) 9.16
Round Three results:
Heat 1: Rio Waida (IDN) 15.10 def. Leo Pau Etienne (FRA) 14.26
Heat 2: Yuji Nishi (JPN) 14.97 def. Momoto Tsuzuki (JPN) 14.27
Heat 3: Adin Masencamp (ZAF) 14.33 def. Mateus Herdy (BRA) 11.57
Heat 4: Joh Azuchi (JPN) 12.73 def. Ryland Rubens (USA) 11.80
Heat 5: Sandon Whittaker (AUS) 14.00 def. Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.30
Heat 6: Cody Young (HAW) 12.83 def. Erwan Blouin (FRA) 7.23