World Surf League (WSL) North America is excited to announce the expansion of the 2015 Junior Series with the addition of two new events in Los Cabos, BCS, Mexico and Newport Beach, Ca, USA. Exclusive to competitors aged 20 and under, the North American Junior Series is comprised of events in California, Florida, Virginia, New Jersey and Barbados. With the addition of Los Cabos and Newport Beach a more balanced schedule for both East and West Coast competitors is in place.
The Los Cabos Open of Surf Junior Pro, scheduled to run from June 9-13th at the right-hand point-break of Zippers, will feature both Junior Men's and Junior Women's events, and run alongside a Women's Qualifying Series (QS) 6000. This event marks the first WSL Junior Series ever to be held in Mexico, further expanding the reach of the Los Cabos Open of Surf.
"We are thrilled to once again host this exciting event attracting surf aficionados and families alike to Los Cabos", said Luis Palacios, Commercial Director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. "Every year the festival is growing and aims to attract visitors with interests not just in surf but art, authentic cuisine, music and more."
"Adding the Junior Series events to the Women's QS6000 event will give the spectators a definitive look at the future of our sport," added Chris Cote, Communications Director and Cultural Ambassador for the Los Cabos Open of Surf. "The Pro Juniors are the perfect compliment to the Women's QS, an event that will spotlight the world's best female surfers at a break that is perfectly suited for high performance surfing."
Current North America Junior Women's rankings leader Tia Blanco will be in Los Cabos to compete in both the Juniors and Womens events, and is looking to keep her competitive success going. Blanco won her first Junior Series event back in March at the Ron Jon Vans Junior Pro, and then went on to New Zealand to earn her best result in a major QS event, a 9th at the Port Taranaki Pro QS6000.
"I think it's awesome," said Blanco, regarding the addition of the Junior's event. "I competed in the Los Cabos QS last year. Zippers is a really fun rip-able right point. Surf contest are always more fun when the weather is nice and the contest wave is fun!"
The Los Cabos Open of Surf Junior Pro will also feature the WSL's four-man priority system for the first time in a North American Junior Series event. While some have experience with the priority system from the QS events, many Junior Men and Women will have the opportunity to compete for their first time, with the new system in place.
"The 4-man priority system is an amazing bonus for the Juniors in this event," said Junior Series contender Kanoa Igarashi. "It gives everyone a chance to show their best surfing without worrying about hassling and blocking. I had a couple heats last year at Zippers with 4-man priority and you definitely need it out there because positioning is crucial on a point break."
Also joining the North American Junior Series schedule is the RVCA Pro Junior presented by Jack's Surfboards, which will be held at 56th St Jetty in Newport Beach, Ca on September 25-27, 2015. The Junior Series will be making its return to the infamous shores of Newport Beach for the first time since 2010, when current WSL Championship Tour rookie Keanu Asing took out the event as a 17 year-old. The RVCA Pro Junior event will run in conjunction with the City of Newport Beach Surfing Championships benefiting the Ben Carlson Foundation.
"RVCA, born and raised in Costa Mesa/Newport Beach, is always looking for opportunities to connect with the community," commented Brian Cassaro, RVCA VP of Marketing, when asked about the brand's decision to bring the Junior Series back to Newport. "As we began discussing our sponsorship of the Newport Surfing Beach Championships, the opportunity to sponsor a WSL Pro Junior came up and honestly, it's the best of both worlds for us. We get to work with the community on the city event and bring a Pro Junior to our backyard."
Newport Beach surfer and RVCA team rider Tyler Gunter is looking forward to having a Junior Series event back in Newport, and will be surfing in his first WSL competition at his home break.
"All the local competitors are super stoked to have the event back on at 56th St in Newport," said Gunter. "I grew up going to the Newport Pro every year, watching all my favorite surfers. We travel a lot to compete, so I'm really looking forward to surfing in a Pro Junior at my home break."
"Usually in September the North swells start to show," said Gunter about the potential for waves at the RVCA Pro Jr. "The South swells are still happening too, so there is good potential for combo swell, which is really good for Newport. The winds can be light too, so hopefully it's peaky with clean barrels all day."
Both the Los Cabos Junior Pro and the RVCA Pro Junior will factor into the 2015 Junior Series Rankings, and ultimately help to decide who will be heading to the prestigious WSL Junior Championships event to compete for a World Title. Past Junior World Champions include current WSL Men's World Champion Gabriel Medina, and former WSL World Champions Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and the late Andy Irons.