The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing junior divisions has culled to the two women's Finalists the men's four Semifinalists.
Kanoa Igarashi (USA) put on a clinical display in his Quarterfinals win over fellow event standout Jordy Lawler (AUS). Igarashi linked explosive turns together seemingly with ease in the difficult conditions and clocked a massive two-wave heat total of 17.75 (out of a possible 20).
"This is probably the best board I've ever had," Igarashi said. "I got it made in a rush right before I came here and Channel Islands were able to do some magic for me. The last couple of days has been a great warm up for the QS6000, but the Juniors is a big event too, full of amazing surfers, so I'm super excited to be into Semis."
Jacob Willcox (AUS), reigning Hurley Australian Open of Surfing Pro Junior champion posted an impressive come from behind victory in his Quarterfinals clash against Hawaiian Joshua Moniz. Willcox was left chasing a solid score after Moniz landed some early aerials to post mid-range scores. In the last two minutes, Willcox posted an 8.50, the highest single wave score of the heat, to steal the win and book a spot in the Semifinals.
"It's great to have priority because you don't need to worry about hassling for waves," Willcox said. "As soon as Josh (Moniz) let priority go near the end I knew I was still in with a chance. I remember this day last year, I was thinking how good it would be to be one of the last four guys in the event. It's been a massive day, I've surfed three heats so I'm pretty tired, but I'm really happy."
Isabella Nichols (AUS) took out the reigning World Junior Champion Mahina Maeda (HAW) in an exciting Semifinals matchup. Nichols and Maeda have both been in great form so far at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing, but it was Nichols who struck when it counted most, advancing to a Junior Tour Final for the first time in her career.
"That was my first ever pro junior Semi, so to now be in the Final feels amazing," Nichols said. "The surf today is what my home break is like all the time, so I felt really comfortable out there. I just tried to wait for the big ones and do some turns. It can be hard work, but it's worth it now to be in the Final."
Macy Callaghan (AUS) also advanced into the Final and will take on Nichols in the coming days.
The Qualifying Series (QS) men's and women's divisions will start February 9 with the QS6000 at Manly Beach. The action won't be confined to the water with skateboarding demos and competitions, music concerts, art displays and more.
More info www.australianopenofsurfing.com