The second wave of World Surf League (WSL) Hawaii's Junior Development Day series took place Sunday, August 28, at world-famous Pipeline, with close to 60 guests in attendance including Hawaii's top junior athletes Cody Young (Maui) and Brisa Hennessy (Oahu). With an emphasis on kids, culture and community, WSL Hawaii continues to develop their junior program for the benefit of athletes, but welcomes parents, siblings and coaches alike to join the fun.
Sunday's workshop was the second of three activations for 2016, with all eyes now focused on the final Junior Development Day set to take place during the Vans Triple Crown season.
"The reason why we offer the Junior Development program is to get beyond competition," said Jodi Wilmott, WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui General Manager. "Competition is obviously important, and we work with the kids on different elements of that, but it's also critical that we help them to look ahead and plan a career that may not be just on the waves, but also around the waves in all of the different facets of what the surf industry and the professional surf businesses offer these days."
With the Turtle Bay Resort Pro Junior approaching in October, the workshop highlighted preparedness through three different sessions: foundational principles of performance and sports psychology, judging insights and priority overview, and interview techniques, self-promotion and sponsorship.
While the judging session garnered the most hand-raises from the group during the Q&A, both the psychology and interview sessions offered a hands-on approach to bettering athletes' mental and social games.
One of the most valuable sessions of the day was learning how to cope with stress and anxiety through mindfulness, which was led by Dr. Ed Cua, sports psychologist and family therapist. Since many of our young athletes today deal with pressures surrounding the world of professional surfing, Dr. Cua led the group by teaching techniques to ultimately help with flow, which is the state of mind that allows for maximum success in any situation or scenario.
Former Championship Tour (CT) competitor and renowned power-surfer Pancho Sullivan was on hand to deliver important tips on technique and protocol for both live and taped interviews.
"Interviews are a big part of the sport," said Sullivan. "It's vital for your profile as a professional surfer, and also to get your name out there. This is a great opportunity for our juniors to rehearse how to conduct a proper interview and be professional in the media spotlight."
WSL Hawaii juniors have a combined 400,000+ Instagram followers, which make them an influential group supportive of the surfing lifestyle. Many of the athletes are looking for ways to increase followers, connect with sponsors and stay relevant in the ever-growing sport and Sullivan, along with WSL Hawaii Media Manager, Lauren Rolland, were available to share their insights.
A sincere mahalo to Banzai Bowls for providing healthy acai snacks, to Cholo's for the homestyle Mexican dinner and to Turtle Bay Resort for donating raffle prizes. Six winners went home with a reusable water bottle and Oahu's Jake Riccobuano scored the grand prize -- one week of free access to Turtle Bay's fitness area.