The Los Cabos Open of Surf crowned another victor today in pumping Zippers conditions once more as Kirra Pinkerton made this year's Pro Junior events a San Clemente, California, sweep -- after Crosby Colapinto's win on Tuesday. This marks Pinkerton's incredible, third-straight Pro Junior victory in the North America region dating back to the Live Like Zander Junior Pro last November.
Pinkerton's sensational performance ended with yet another chair-up the beach, after winning her Semifinal before taking down an international Final in six-to-eight foot hurricane swell, and retains her No. 1 spot on the North America rankings.
"It feels amazing to go three-for-three and that's the second time I've won going left at a righthand pointbreak (laughs)," Pinkerton said. "I hope this is the year I can take the North America title. It's a good start and it's better than I expected, now I just want to keep it going for a shot at Worlds."
The 15-year-old got started right after the horn sounded and found a rare Zippers left to unleash her backhand attack, earning a 7.83 (out of a possible 10). Despite not finding a decent backup, the first exchange would prove enough as Gabriela Bryan's last effort fell just short of the 7.37 requirement. Pinkerton's success goes unrivaled in previous years as no North America women's Pro Junior has won two events in the same season since Chelsea Tuach in 2013, and none have ever taken three straight.
"All of those girls deserved to win, they were ripping so hard and pushed me to my limits so it felt great to come out on top in that Final," Pinkerton added. "It was super important to get that start and I would've been a lot more nervous going through the rest of that heat without it. I was so relieved when they announced that score and that helped keep me calm despite not being able to get a solid backup."
Internationals Retain Hefty Finals Presence
Hawaii nearly took the event title back to the islands with the help of Bryan's great performance. The Kauai, Hawaii, surfer is on a hot-streak of her own with two Qualifying Series (QS) wins this year, and a Pro Junior win in Hawaii. Bryan found a left that gave her the opportunity of taking a last-second win, but her 6.17 wasn't enough as she now prepares for the Los Cabos Open of Surf QS 6,000.
"It's pretty cool to make another Final this year, but it was the biggest Zippers I've ever surfed and it was super challenging," Bryan said. "Being able to surf out there with three other girls is a great warm-up for the QS -- especially that Final with some of those girls. It's my first winning a few events this year and making Finals like this just help build my confidence to know I can do this."
2016/2017 World Junior Champion Macy Callaghan earned a second-straight Finals appearance at Zippers with a third-place finish. Callaghan's last performance as a Pro Junior here at Zippers didn't live up to her expectations, but the Australian remains a heavy favorite in the QS 6,000.
"It wasn't the result I wanted, but I had fun out there and it was nice to get an advantage of already surfing a few heats before the QS starts," Callaghan said. "I actually felt really old in that heat (laughs). These girls are so young and just ripping, especially Lulu [Luana Silva] who I've known since she was tiny. It's crazy having a heat with her, Gabby [Gabriel Bryan], and Kirra [Pinkerton] stayed with me a lot in Australia so it was a lot of fun."
One of the few surfers not splitting time at both events, Luana Silva finished her terrific Los Cabos campaign with a fourth-place finish. The Hawaii competitor was a standout in the Quarterfinals with excellent surfing, but couldn't find her place in the lineup to do damage during the Final bout.
"I'm super stoked with that Final after gaining some confidence from my Quarterfinal yesterday when I earned an 8.17," Silva said. "It was really tricky out there so it was important to stay patient and get the good ones that came off the point. But, I couldn't find those waves in the Final. I'm not doing the QS, but this was a great experience surfing against these girls who push me."