The final event of the 2022 World Surf League (WSL) Australia / Oceania Junior Series, the Peel Pro Junior, kicked off with a bang today as competitors from across the country were greeted with better than expected conditions in Mandurah, Western Australia.
Two rounds of Men's and the opening round of Women's competition were completed in fun running lefts at Avalon Point, with the waves providing ample opportunity for competitors to strut their stuff in an exciting display from surfing's future superstars.
Some of the regions very best 20 and under surfers went all out in hopes of securing their position into the World Junior Championship, scheduled to run in California in January 2023.
The opening round of Men's competition saw local talents perform strongly with Kade Martin (Dunsborough, WA), Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough, WA), and Otis North (Yallingup, WA) all posting impressive round one wins, along with Japan's Ryuichi Inoue who seemed perfectly suited to the waves on offer at Avalon this morning.
"This is my first time to Western Australia and I can't believe how different it is to the East Coast of Australia," said Inoue. "I'm very happy to be here and look forward to the week ahead."
Top seed on the Women's draw, Sierra Kerr (Coolangatta, QLD), wowed the strong beach crowed who converged on Avalon to soak up the action. Under the watchful eye of her father, former WSL Championship Tour (CT) competitor and aerial specialist Josh Kerr, Sierra dropped a massive combined heat score total of 16.75 (from a possible 20), which included a 9.00 and 7.75, in her first heat ever in Western Australia.
"I don't actually go left that much so I'm stoked to be here and practice on my backhand," said Kerr. "It's a fun wave and I haven't been to WA since I was a baby, so it's great to be back here in the West."
Charli Hurst (Port Kembla, NSW), Jahli Stoked (Sunshine Coast, QLD) and Ellie Harrison (Barwon Heads, VIC) were the other round one Women's winners.
Men's Round two wrapped up the day, as the winds began to ruffle the ocean surface, but that didn't stop the top seeded surfers from shinning through in the afternoon conditions.
Ty Richardson (Palm Beach, NSW), Lennox Chell (Avoca, NSW), Saxon Reber (Manly, NSW), Benny Wilson (Narrabeen, NSW), and Jamie Thompson (North Narrabeen, NSW) all progressed in style. But it was Taj Stokes (Sunshine Coast), who dropped the highest two-wave total of the day, with a massive 17.50 (from a possible 20), which included a near perfect 9.50 and 8.00.
West Australian hopes Kade Martin (Dunsborough, WA) and George Simpson (Gracetown, WA) remain in contention as the lone WA surfers still in the Men's draw.
The next call will be made tomorrow at 7am, but all signs are pointing towards a finish on Monday with a positive kick in the swell set to create an epic end to the Peel Pro Junior for 2022.
The Peel Pro Junior is the opening event of the WA Pro Surf Series, which provides local WA surfers with a valuable opportunity for compete in their backyard against some world class opposition.