The country's top surfers under the age of 19 are congregating on the Gold Coast tomorrow for the first leg of the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai, which is the first event on the World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) calendar for 2020 and will run over two days.
The surf forecast predicts a 2-4ft easterly swell heading to the Gold Coast in time for the event, along with north-easterly winds. Some of the country's best surfers will be competing to gain valuable series points which go toward their series rankings which will give them a chance at locking in a spot at the 2020 WSL World Junior Championships.
2019 men's event champion Xavier Huxtable is excited to be defending his title on the Gold Coast this weekend.
"Last year's event was awesome," said Huxtable. "We had some really great waves and I was stoked to get the win. The Pro Junior events are kind of a stepping-stone to the qualifying series - the surfers in the Pro Junior events are definitely on another level. I'm stoked to be heading to the Goldie again, I haven't been for a while - it looks like we should have some waves."
Huxtable will be matched against 14-year-old Gold Coast surfer Ty Richardson in the first heat of round one, along with Jay Occhilupo - son of 1999 world champion and surfing legend Mark "Occy" Occhilupo.
"I can't wait for the comp this weekend - the first Pro Junior of the year," said Richardson. "It looks like we should have some good waves so I'm really excited. There's a lot of great competitors in the Pro junior events so there's never an easy heat. It's another level of surfing, everyone pushes each other and it's a really good experience surfing against the older kids. I'm stoked to be surfing close to home too, hopefully, some local knowledge will come into play."
2019 women's event runner-up Holly Williams echoed the men's excitement.
"We had some super fun waves last year," said Williams. "I like the Pro Junior events because it's another level of surfing compared to the state and national titles. It's a great atmosphere too - being able to meet some great new people and surf against them. All the girls have been surfing really well. I'm looking forward to surfing some good waves and doing my best, and when I'm not competing just having some fun."
The Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior QLD will run from January 18 - 19 on the Gold Coast.