Dakoda Walters and Molly Picklum have added another stellar result to their already massive 2019 campaigns, both taking out the Hydralyte Sports Shoalhaven Pro Junior.
Dakoda Walters successfully completed his hat-trick of junior series wins, following victories at previous events at Cronulla, the Gold Coast and now Shoalhaven. Walters surfed the final with a combination of flair and maturity as he waited patiently for the bigger sets that allowed him to execute his combination of stylish snaps. As a result, Walters finished the final with an impressive 16.50 two-wave combination that was made up of a near-perfect 9.25 and a 7.25 wave score.
"This is a dream come true," said Walters. "That was such a fun final and the waves came from nowhere to finish the event, which gave all of us a bunch of opportunities to get some decent scores. Once I got that 9.25 I knew I'd have to wait for a decent backup score to get ahead of the other guys as I'd seen all of them post excellent scores throughout the event. I'm stoked that I was able to find one when I had first priority and take the win."
Molly Picklum has put herself into a near-unreachable position on the 2019 Australian Junior rankings, claiming her fourth win from her sixth Pro Junior event. Picklum adopted a patient game over the course of the 30-minute final, only catching two waves that allowed her to notch up a near-perfect 9.50 and a 6.75 and consequently finished with a 16.25 heat total. Picklum received the aforementioned 9.25 for two mammoth backside snaps that allowed her to gain the upper hand against her fellow finalists.
"I never thought I'd be at this stage this year," said Picklum. "I came into 2019 just wanting to maybe get some finals results and hopefully take an event win, but to be in this position on the rankings is awesome. Hopefully, we get some decent waves for the final two Pro Junior events in Lennox Head and Bells Beach and I can finish off the season well."
With three finals results already under his belt for 2019, Taj Stokes (Sunshine Coast, Qld) looked hungry for the victory as he decimated a handful of playful lefthanders on offer in the final. Stokes charged hard out of the gates in the final, posting an excellent 8.25 wave score for a variety of impressive backside carves, however with priority against him in the final minutes of the heat, Stokes found himself unable to nab the 8.26 required to steal the win off Walters.
"I've had a couple of fourth place finishes and a third also, so to get a second place here feels pretty good. Hopefully, I can get the top spot in the next one," said Stokes. "I've been tapping away at every comp as they come and I feel that you need to have a different mindset in the final to what you have in semis and other rounds. Hopefully, I can use this momentum in the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open Pro Junior in Lennox Head next month and get a win."
Bodhi Leigh-Jones has gone one step further to solidifying her runner-up position on the Australian Junior rankings, claiming the runner-up position at Shoalhaven. Leigh-Jones put up a valiant fight in the final posting a 13.10 two-wave heat total but unfortunately fell short of Picklum by a 3.15 margin.
"I'm so happy to be in the second position heading into the last two comps of the year, so hopefully I can stay there and qualify for the World Junior Championships," said Leigh-Jones. "My goal at the beginning of the year wasn't actually to make the World Juniors as I wasn't sure how many events I could do with school being so busy, but after I won one event, I thought there was an opportunity that I should take."