World Junior Championship prospects have dominated the opening day of the Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior presented by Hyundai at Jan Juc, the final stop of the WSL Australia / Oceania Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) for 2019.
After a shift from Bells Beach to the alternate venue of Jan Juc beach due to a small swell and unfavorable tides on offer, Australia / Oceania's top Pro Junior surfers took to the water in their last opportunity to secure a position in the WSL World Junior Championships to be held in Taiwan this November. The top three males and top two females on the WSL Australia / Oceania Junior Qualifying Series rankings at the conclusion of this event will represent the region.
NSW pair Dakoda Walters and Molly Picklumn have already secured top spot on the rankings in the Men's and Women's divisions, after an excellent season of competition. With Picklumn opting not to compete at this event, the final spot will be decided through Bodhi Leigh-Jones , Nyxie Ryan, Holly Williams, and Pacha Luque-Light. All aforementioned contenders progressed through to the Quarterfinals of the Women's draw. Bodhi Leigh-Jones was a standout of the contenders, winning her opening heat with a two-wave total of 9.65 (out of a possible 20)
"I really want to qualify for the WSL World Junior Titles," said Leigh-Jones. "While I'm nervous, I'm also really excited that it all comes down to this event. It is super close between myself and the other girls on the ratings right now. This is my last year as a Junior, representing Australia at the World Titles is a great opportunity for me as I step into the QS era of my career".
Men's rating leader Walters was a surprise elimination in the second round today, eliminated by George Pittar and Codie Jeffery in one of the highest-scoring heats of the day.
Mathematical chances for the final two positions alongside Walters are Alister Reginato, Taj Stokes, Caleb Tancred, Xavier Huxtable and Tane Bowden. Stokes is missing the event after sustaining a serious ankle injury, meaning his qualification relies on the results of those below him.
Tancred is also absent from the event, currently sitting at 31 on the international WSL QS Rankings he is competing in the QS10,000 rated EDP Billabong Pro at Ericeira in Portugal.
Bowden comfortably progressed through to the Quarter Finals today, looking comfortable in Round 1 and 2 at his former home of Jan Juc.
Huxtable was the highest-scoring surfer of the day, securing two 8.25 rides (out of a possible 10) in his opening heat. Huxtable joins Reginato in Round 2, both scheduled to surf for positions in the Quarter Finals tomorrow morning.
The Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior presented by Hyundai at Jan Juc will run from September 24 - 25.