Punchy 3-to-4-foot waves provided the perfect canvas for surfers on the final day of the Maxum ASP Women's Pro Junior at North Cronulla, as Kobie Enright (AUS) claimed prestigious the Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event win.
The Tweed Heads surfer earns $1,000 for the win plus valuable ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series rankings points.
Enright started strong in the Final and never relinquished the lead as she threw down a barrage of technical snaps and carves. Enright's performance hit its climax early in the exchange when the natural-footer managed to post an 8.83, putting her fellow finalist Keely Andrew (AUS) on the ropes.
"I couldn't hear what the situation was when I was in the water so I was flying blind a little bit," said Enright. "I didn't see what Keely's waves were like, but I knew that she'd been the standout performer in the event and she had the potential to get massive scores. This is my first Pro Junior win and my first Final as well, so I'm absolutely ecstatic. I'm going down to Victoria for another event tomorrow, so I'm hoping I can carry some of this confidence into that event down there.â€
Last year's runner-up Andrew claimed her second runner-up position in as many years, this time falling victim to Enright's torrent of critical forehand hits. Despite moments of brilliance, Andrew was unable to replicate the same scores that took her all the way to the Final in the blue-ribbon division.
â€œThis is my last Pro Junior event in Australia, so I really wanted to take this out,â€ said Andrew. â€œI made a few big mistakes out there and Kobie is a good enough surfer to capitalize on it. I just fell on some of those bigger waves and it proved to be my downfall. Congrats to Kobie, she absolutely smashed it.â€
As the lone international surfer in the draw today, Ren Hashimoto (JPN) had the full support of the local Japanese surfing community as she tore her way into the Semifinals. However, in a relatively wave-starved heat, Hashimoto was unable to muster up the required 9.51 wave score to take the lead from Enright.
"This is the best result I've ever had in a Pro Junior event," Hashimoto said. "The waves have been pretty fun over the weekend, so I couldn't ask for much more."
Australia's Holly Wawn charged through the event, finishing equal third. Wawn blasted her way through the earlier rounds by performing massive combinations of forehand and backhand snaps and even managed to post the highest heat score of the day -- a 16.97 -- but was unable to find the same rhythm in her Semifinal heat against Andrew.
â€œI saw a few little inside peaks and thought I may have been able to do a few turns on those, but I wasn't able to do anything solid on my first turn,â€ said Wawn. â€œI was keeping my eyes on Keely over the course of the heat as I knew she had the potential to conjure up solid scores and that's exactly what she did in that heat. Overall, I'm pretty stoked to finish with a Semifinal, though. It still feels amazing.â€
Isabella Nichols (AUS) was knocked from the Maxum ASP Women's Pro Junior in the Quarterfinals after engaging in an exciting heat with Wawn. Despite posting a series of respectable scores, Nichols was unable to get the edge over her opponent and had to settle for an equal fifth.
â€œThe waves were really difficult and Holly surfed a better heat than me, so with that in mind I'd have to say I'm reasonably happy with a Quarterfinal finish,â€ said Nichols. â€œI guess I will have to assess what I did wrong and just try to improve next time. I think you definitely learn a lot more from your losses, so I will hopefully be able to grow from this.â€
Sophia Bernard (AUS) was wearing a smile ear-to-ear with her fifth-place finish in the event. The Northern Beaches surfer had her work cut out for her when she came up against the eventual event winner.
â€œI unfortunately couldn't seem to find any waves out there that allowed me to get those medium-to-high-range scores,â€ said Bernard. â€œKobie surfed amazingly well in that heat and she deserved to move into the Semis. I think I can definitely improve in difficult conditions, so I'm going to focus on doing that over the Christmas period and then put all my attention into a lot more of these events next year.â€
The Maxum ASP Women's Pro Junior had huge implications for surfers trying to qualify for the forthcoming ASP World Junior Championships in Ericeira, Portugal, which runs from October 25 to November 2, 2014.