Spring is in the air at Cocoa Beach, Florida, and that means one thing for some of North America's top junior talents 18-and-under -- the Roxy Junior Pro is at the forefront of their competitive focus. This year the field of competitors takes on a new shape but there is no lack of talented up-comers ready for their shot at taking over the rankings early on.
With last year's top two ranked surfers, Kirra Pinkerton and Samantha Sibley, as well as Alyssa Spencer all making an early transition into the QS and hunting points in Australia to start 2019. Here's a shortlist of who's looking to step up and earn their spot into WSL Junior Championships.
2018 Junior Rank: 3
Best Result: 1st - Live Like Zander Junior Pro in Memory of Zander Venezia
Last year Thompson made her big breakthrough on the Pro Junior level with her first win in Barbados but now the La Jolla, California, prepares for a fresh start to the new season. It marks Thompson's last year to complete her goal of securing a regional title as a Pro Junior and isn't shying away from the challenge after that win to end last year.
The 18-year-old narrowly missed out on a chance to compete at the WSL Junior Championships by one spot, something Thompson looks to improve upon after a fourth-place, Finals finish in Cocoa Beach to start the 2018 season.
2018 Junior Rank: 5
Best Result: 3rd - Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro
The Costa Rican representative hails from Melbourne Beach, Florida, and is right at home for the Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro -- an event she earned her best career showing. It was a successful year for the now 17-year-old, but this will also be her last year before moving onto the QS full-time and she's looking to make it count.
"Since I made the final here last year I know I can do it again and actually having a full season in 2018 gave me more drive for this year," Woodland said. "I'm really going for the win since it's my last year and I just have to give my all in each pro junior event this year."
2018 Junior Rank: 10
Best Result: 3rd - RVCA Pro Junior
One of 2018's breakout talents emerged in the form of Ventura, California's, Makena Burke. She progressively bettered herself through each event, culminating in a third-place finish in Barbados, on the Pro Junior level and also bagged a QS win to her name at the WRV Outer Banks Pro QS 1,000.
This marks her second season where she'll give it a proper look after building her foundation and now aiming for a Top 2 spot by year's end for a chance at WJC.
2018 Junior Rank: 39
Best Result: 25th - Los Cabos Open of Surf
One of the amateur ranks' newest threats last year is bringing that talent to the WSL Pro Junior level in 2019. Caitlin Simmers, 13, put on a showcase of charging when conditions turned unruly at the Los Cabos Open of Surf in her Pro Junior debut and now starts her campaign at the first event of the year. Though relatively unknown to the Pro Junior ranks, her reputation of crushing events at the NSSA level is well-known as she now looks to transition.
The Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro runs March 14 - 17 alongside the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500 and Junior Pro.