The Maxum Women's Pro Junior, the final stop on the 2015 Women's WSL Australasia Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), began today with some of Australia's and the world's most talented young surfers making light work of the difficult two-foot peaks on offer throughout the opening rounds.
Current Australasian WSL JQS rankings leader Isabella Nichols (Sunshine Coast, Qld) was forced to withdraw from the event due to illness after successfully moving through her first round heat. In the relatively low-scoring affair, Nichols and Kiani Dobbyn (Gold Coast, Qld) traded off a series of average scoring waves with Dobbyn getting the nod and Nichols taking second position.
"The first heat is always the toughest, so I'm glad it's out of the way," said Nichols. "This event was really about having fun for me. A lot of my friends are here and this has always been a pretty elite event, so I wanted to be part of it."
Rubie Reents (Narrawallee, NSW) found multiple diamonds in the rough posting an impressive 13.75 heat total (out of a possible 20 points) to get the edge over fellow event standout Holly-Sue Coffey (Coolangatta, Qld). The South Coast natural-footer scratched into multiple lengthy righthanders to post the aforementioned score and get the win ahead of Coffey by a 3.65 margin. Both surfers have cemented their spot in the second round.
"The waves are really difficult out there, so I knew I just needed to get a score on the board as soon as I could," said Reents. "I got pretty nervous in the final five minutes, especially since I knew Holly could get a decent score. Fortunately, things went my way and I still took the win."
Vahine Fierro (PYF) made her long journey from Tahiti worthwhile, performing a mix of mammoth backside hooks over seemingly difficult sections. As a result, Fierro was awarded an 11.75 heat total, which gave her the upper hand against Jaleesa Vincent (Sunshine Coast, Qld) who took out the runner-up position.
"It's hard to find the good waves, but if you could then they were fun," said Fierro. "I watched the lineup for a while and it looked like the righthanders were a better option, which suited me as I prefer to go right."
Alyssa Lock (Tweed Heads, NSW) left her fellow surfers chasing two-wave combinations to steal her lead after notching up a variety of impressive scores in the first round. Lock performed a barrage of giant forehand snaps and carves to be rewarded with a 7.75 wave score and a spot into the second round.
"Taking out the first round heat is always a big confidence boost," said Lock. "It's exciting to see how some of the older girls tackle this event and there's a lot to learn from them. Hopefully, this will put me in a good position for next year's Junior Series."
Other round one winners in the Maxum Women's Pro Junior included: Macy Callaghan (Avoca, NSW), Kirra Belle Olsson (Avoca, NSW), 2014 event champion Kobie Enright (Tweed Heads, NSW) and Lucy Callister (Palm Beach, NSW).
The Maxum WSL Women's Pro Junior and NRMA Women's Surf Classic will resume tomorrow.
2015 is the seventh year the NRMA Women's Surf Classic has run at Cronulla.
The Maxum WSL Women's Pro Junior will crown the 2015 female Australasian JQS champion tomorrow, as well as offering $2000 prize-money and vital WSL JQS rankings points for surfers vying to qualify for the forthcoming WSL World Junior Championships.
The Maxum WSL Women's Pro Junior and NRMA Women's Surf Classic are proudly supported by NRMA, Maxum Watches, Mazda, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, HIF, Carve Eyewear, Guzman and Gomez, Sutherland Shire Council, Kommunity Project, Tradies, Ohana Ocean Athletics, Cronulla Girls Boardriders, NSW Sport and Recreation, WSL Australasia and Surfing NSW.