The World Surf League (WSL) North America Pro Juniors are back in action beginning tomorrow, September 21 - 23 for the fourth annual RVCA Pro Junior presented by Jack's Surfboards and Banzai Bowls at Newport Beach, California. 56th Street Jetty will host the region's top talents 18-and-under alongside the historic City of Newport Beach Surf Championship, produced by Darren Brilhart since its start, now proudly entering its 30th year of competition.
This year marks a special occasion as the women join the men for the first time since this event's inception and will give them a platform to continue their battle for a World Junior Championship spot. Current No. 1 Kirra Pinkerton holds one of the Top 2 spots up for grabs all but locked heading into Newport Beach, leading by 1,265 points with two wins under her belt this season already. The San Clemente, California, native is relishing the idea of having a new stop on the women's season to round it out and also provide more opportunity for the up-and-comers to showcase their talents.
"It's so great to have another event added to the North America Junior Tour and hopefully more to come over the years to grow women's surfing," Pinkerton said. "It feels so great to be in this position because last year I wasn't making it until the last event and stressing to get a first-place result to make it into worlds isn't always the easiest. Another win this season would mean I would take the season title no matter how the results would be in Barbados, and I would be so happy if I could get this win as it's the first ever women's event in Newport."
Fellow San Clemente competitor Samantha Sibley currently sits at No. 2 on the rankings, but is locked into a tight race among her fellow contenders. Only 100 points separate Sibley from No. 7 Valentina Resano with all those in between in the hunt for a big result that could catapult them up the rankings.
The 16-year-old narrowly missed out on a trip to the World Junior Championship last season and is looking for her first appearance there with two events remaining to capitalize on -- as reigning North America Regional Champion Alyssa Spencer will once again be absent in Newport Beach.
"I am so happy and excited for the new opportunities for women in surfing!" Sibley said. "I'm so thankful to RVCA for adding a women's event. It's so cool we get another opportunity to surf this year. It's so important to keep my momentum from the US Open because making World Juniors is a huge goal of mine this year. After so closely missing out on a spot at the end of last year, I really want to earn one of the two spots this year."
Check for updates throughout the weekend and see who's able to make their move, or hold their spots, at 56th Street Jetty.
The women will get proceedings underway at 8:00 a.m. PST with their Quarterfinal match ups before men's Round 1, 2, and Quarterfinals follow.
The Men and Women's RVCA Pro Junior will run September 21 - 23 in Newport Beach, California.