- WSL / Tim Hain

Japan's Kana Nakashio (JPN) and Bali's Made Ariyana (INA) have claimed victory at the 2024 Nias Pro Junior World Surf League (WSL) event in pristine three-foot glassy surf at Lagundri Bay. The pair overcame a stacked field of the Asian region's best to earn their wins at one of the best Pro Junior events of the season.

Made Ariyana Made Ariyana - WSL / Tim Hain

In the men's Final, it was a pitched battle between the equally proficient junior surfers, recent Krui Pro Junior champion Bronson Meydi (INA), the Bali duo of Made Mahendra (INA) and Made Ariyana (INA), and Bali expat Rafael Castro (USA). It was a contest of who could put together the three best turns until the last 20 seconds when the final was decided on a barrel ride from Ariyana.

Rafael Castro (USA) jumped into the lead early but was soon overtaken by the only goofy footer in the Final, Made Ariyana (INA), whose aggressive style attacking the lip and tail sliding his second turn got him into the lead. But Made Mahendra (INA), whose powerful forehand and smooth-flowing style when linking his maneuvers scored well with the judges, lept into the lead with the final's top scoring wave of a 6.50 (out of a possible 10), which he then backed up with 4.80. Meanwhile, recent Krui Pro Pro Junior champion Bronson Meydi (INA) had difficulty completing his always radical maneuvers, so he spent the entire Final in 4th spot, his highest scoring wave a 5.67. When it seemed like Made Mahendra had a lock on first place and only 20 seconds to go, Made Ariyana took off on a medium-sized set wave, set off down the line, and pulled into the only barrel section attempted in the final to exit and score a 5.67 and take the win. With his win today, Ariyana is atop the WSL Asia Region's Pro Junior rankings.

"I'm so lucky to find that barrel at the end," Ariyana said. "It seemed like we were all getting low scores, so I was really nervous as there were some times with no waves coming. I'm stoked I could find that wave and get the win. I'm so happy to win this pro junior, it's my first time to win here. It's like a dream."

Made Ariyana Made Ariyana - WSL / Abdel Elecho

Runner-up Made Mahendra was still all smiles, saying, "I'm kinda bummed, but still happy to take second. It's my first time in a pro junior final this year, so it's pretty good. But my plan is still to take number one by the end of the year, hahaha."

The women's Final was an all-Japanese affair. With Krui Pro Junior champion Mirai Ikeda (JPN), last year's Nias Pro Junior runner-up Cocona Kawase (JPN), another Nias Pro Junior runner-up Sumomo Sato (JPN), and Manokwari Pro Junior winner Kana Nakashio (JPN) in the final, it was always going to be a well-earned victory for the champion.

In a last-minute charge, with just a minute and a half left on the clock, Kana Nakashio took off and went deep into a bottom turn before heading for the lip and gouging out a big turn, then sending another fan of spray on her second turn, to earn a 6.77 and take the lead off Sumomo Sato (JPN) and post a heat total of 13.27 for the Pro Junior win.

"I'm so happy to get this win," Nakashio said. "I knew there were lulls in the swell so I had to wait and only take the best waves, so I waited for my opportunity. On my first wave, I got a good score, so I felt like I was in tune with the wave. I just had to wait for the next chance. Finally, just at the end of the final, I got my opportunity, and I got the score to win it."

Kana Nakashio Kana Nakashio - WSL / Tim Hain

Nakashio won the Krui Pro Junior in 2023, the Manokwari Pro Junior in Indonesia in 2023, and took third place at the recent Krui Pro Junior, and currently sits in the Number One spot on the WSL Asia Regional Pro Junior rankings.

Runner-up Sumomo Sato was understandably disappointed not to get the win, although holding the highest single wave score of 7.00 (out of a possible 10), but was still satisfied with her result, saying, "I was a little bit nervous out there, so I didn't catch the best waves. Kana is a really good surfer, she is so strong, so she deserves the win. This has been such a fun contest; I'm so happy I could make it to the final. Nias is such a good wave. I enjoyed this contest so much."

Kana Nakashio Kana Nakashio - WSL / Tim Hain

The 2024 Nias Pro QS 5000 and Pro Junior events ran at Lagundri Bay from June 8 to 14.

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