Jacob Willcox and Ellie Jean Coffey secured their first ASP Pro Junior wins of 2014, claiming the Men's and Women's Hurley Australian Open Pro Junior victories to punctuate a mammoth day of small wave action.
Margaret River's Jacob Willcox took out the Men's Junior Final over Italy's Leonardo Fioravanti in a tight battle, with the pair finishing the 30 minute affair for the win by less than a point. Willcox would go on to edge out Fioravanti by a score of 14.27 to 13.67.
"That was really close," Willcox said. "Leo (Fioravanti) is a great surfer, he had a chance to overtake me at the end and fell just short, but he's been on fire all event. I love surfing, I love competing and I've had a great time here at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing in Manly. I've made the quarterfinals at a couple events already this year, so I'm really happy to take one out."
The Hurley Australian Open Pro Junior win vaults Willcox to No. 1 on the Australasia Pro Junior Series Rankings.
Reigning Australasia Pro Junior Series Champion Ellie-Jean Coffey would best Western Australia's Bronte Macaulay in Coffey's first Pro Junior appearance of 2014. The banner result immediately vaults the goofy-footer to No. 3 on the regional rankings.
"This is my first event of the year and it's a great way to start 2014," Coffey said. "I'm so tired after surfing three heats, but it's worth it. I didn't want to over-think anything, I knew that doing three good turns would win me the final and so that's what I did. This year I'll be focusing more on the ASP Qualifying Series events, but winning a pro junior is still a great feeling."
While Pro Junior winners were decided, there was no shortage of action throughout the Women's ASP 6-Star competition, with the field narrowing down to just 12 surfers remaining amidst a mass of upsets to the ASP Top 17.
While several ASP Women's WCT surfers would fall early, reigning ASP Women's World Champion Carissa Moore proved to be the standout despite the small surf on offer. Moore posted the highest single wave score of the event, a 9.60 out of a possible 10, for a series of devastatingly powerful carves.
"It's hard work out there," Moore said. "At least it's a good warm up. I haven't competed for five months so it's great to get a jersey on and get back into it. You just have to find the treasures and gems out there which is really good practice."
Reigning ASP Women's World Junior Champion Ella Williams also advanced in 2nd position behind Moore.
Leila Hurst, Alessa Quizon, and Malia Manuel contributed to the Hawaiian dominance in Round 4 of the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. The three surfers all used superior wave selection and power carves to post excellent scores and advance into Round 5, establishing the islanders as ones to beat heading into the latter rounds.
"You just have to paddle and stand up on anything and hopefully something will turn into a score," Hurst said. "The standard of surfing at this event is next level! I haven't done many QS events over the last couple of years, so it's really nice to be doing well so far. I'm loving Manly, I could live here!"
Keely Andrew, current No. 1 on the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series, continues to prove herself in the Women's ASP 6-Star division. The Sunshine Coaster would go on to advance through a tough Round 4 heat in second position, eliminating defending Hurley Australian Open of Surfing champion Sally Fitzgibbons and former ASP WCT veteran Silvana Lima in the process.
"Just to be in the water with some of the best surfers in the world was a huge experience for me," Andrew said. "I've gained a lot of confidence from that heat and I'm looking forward to the next round. My friend Bronte (Macaulay) beat me in the pro junior and I just had to refocus and prepare for this event and it's working so far."
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