With a slightly conflicting forecast befuddling event organizers at the World Junior Championship in Kiama, NSW, Deputy Commissioner Travis Logie was in a conundrum - roll the dice and wait for new swell that may never arrive or move forward in challenging conditions.
In the end, Logie made the tough - and ultimately correct -- decision to run with only four days left in the contest window.
Generally, it can be assumed that all the heats were held in tricky conditions -contestable, no doubt- but short interval, waist-high windswell will test even the nimblest of Bantamweights. But, as the saying goes, the other guy's surfing the same waves. And the sandbank at Bombo beach continued to serve up plenty of open face for the surfers with enough patience to find it.
Event favorites -- Ethan Ewing and Griffin Colapinto - continue to roll towards an inevitable showdown at Thunderdome - two men enter, one man leaves… with a trophy. Both surfers look to have plenty left in the tank despite dominating their heats over tough competition. "I was kinda all over the place, there were two peaks and I kinda couldn't decide where to go, so I just kept going back and forth," admitted Colapinto. "I felt really scrambled out there. I need to pull it together in my next heat."
Unfortunately for the Mainland USA contingent, Colapinto is the final contestant waving the Stars and Stripes. Two of the highest-qualifying American surfers - young San Diegan Jake Marshall and Long Beach's Nolan Rapoza -- lost out in Round Three in very tight heats. It's an unconvincing result for Team USA's men, they can only hope for better from the American ladies.
South African Jordy Maree continues to surf with very precision based backside attack that with a strong vertical element, looking very much like a dark horse pick for the title. He threw his flag into the ground with the highest single wave score of the day - an 8.5 - in his dominant victory over Marshall. He also netted the highest heat total of the day with his 14.90.
In the final heat of the long day at Kiama, Hawaii's Finn McGill won the war of attrition with South African standout Adin Masencamp, who was a very tough draw. Masencamp has all the tools of a great surfer, but he lacked the opportunities to showcase them in the slow afternoon conditions.
With only 12 surfers remaining there are some incredible Round Four super heats on tap. Ethan Ewing will face fellow Aussie Harley Ross along with Hawaiian Cody Young. Colapinto will but up against Australian Reef Heazlewood and Brazilian power-monger Weslley Dantas.
Tune in live at 7:30 am AEDT to see how the rest of the World Junior Championship unfolds.