Last year's North America Junior Tour No. 4 Tyler Gunter Tyler Gunter made a phenomenal debut on Thursday which translated into more success on the junior front in Friday's action. The Newport Beach, California, representative is ready for another big year after a taste of the elite World Junior Championship.
"Worlds was the greatest experience of my life -- I felt like a CT surfer there with the set up and everything," Gunter said. "Since I left Australia I've just been gearing up for this event and told myself I'm going to work harder than ever. That's my number one goal is to be back there."
The 18-year-old enters his final year on the Junior Tour and has his goals set high, but is putting in the work to make them a reality. Gunter is working with former Team USA coach Ryan Simmons, helping the country earn multiple Gold medals at the ISA level, and trains with a few Californians such as emerging threats Nolan Rapoza and Colt Ward.
"I've been training in knee high surf around Huntington Beach and Newport to prepare for this one and to have waves here has been amazing. Last year was probably the best year I've ever had, making a few Finals, and I learned so much to set myself up for a big year."
Gunter is in good company after Rapoza's stellar Junior Tour career concluded in 2016 with a North America Regional Junior Title and the two trade off filiming when at home.
The Californians are dialed in for whatever Cocoa Beach, Florida throws at them this week after abysmal conditions on the West Coast leading up to the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro and Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro -- which Gunter is still alive in both events.
Saturday's 7:30 a.m EDT call will determine an 8:00 a.m. start for the men's QS in Cocoa Beach with plenty of surfing to be done.