It was another abbreviated day at the Jeep World Junior Championship in Kiama, NSW, where scorching-hot Aussie summer temps pushed the thermometer to 33 degrees Celsius (92 Fahrenheit) and locals rightfully flocked to the beach. A total of only eight men's Round Two heats were completed in the morning session, however, before Deputy Commissioner Travis Logie put the event on standby.
Following a nearly four-hour midday break due to a high tide swamping out the sandbank, competition resumed once the tide turned. Two more heats ran before Logie once again put the event on hold for good. But it wasn't the heat, swell or tide that ultimately spoiled the fun, it was the wind. As the broadcast team kept mentioning, strong southerly gusts had turned the afternoon into a great day for sailing.
However, all of that happened following a morning that began in calm, highly contestable, 2- to 3-foot, short-period windwell peaks.
The most explosive, and talked about, heat of the morning was the matchup between housemates Ocean Macedo and the event's No. 1-ranked Australian surfer, Reef Heazlewood (who also happens to be dating Ocean's sister, Summer, who is competing in the women's World Junior Championship). Those are some cozy confines, all things considered. Macedo got the better of Heazlewood this time, joking afterward he hoped he wouldn't have to find a new place to stay.
"That was definitely bittersweet, but it feels great to take that one out," said Macedo. "The dynamic in the house Reef and I are staying at was a little tense over the last few days, but nothing too bad. Reef is such a cool guy, that I think that this is just one of things that's best left in the water. To get into the third round is a giant relief though."
It was a good morning for the Land of the Rising Sun, too, with two Japanese surfers vanquishing their higher-profile opponents. Keanu Kamiyama lead things off with an upset win over Californian John Mel in Heat 4, followed up in the very next heat by Yuji Nishi's victory over France's Marco Mignot.
"That was a really intense heat," Nishi said. "Marco was catching a lot of waves and I wasn't sure if I should do the same. Luckily waiting paid off and I scored a couple of the bigger waves of the day. I'm having an awesome time here in Australia and just want to keep making heats."
Earlier in the round, No. 2 overall event seed Finn McGill and highly-touted Indonesian, Rio Waida, advanced through challenging heats to move into Round Three. Waida, who is currently ranked No. 96 on the Qualifying Series rankings, received a wildcard invite to the World Junior Championship due to his QS success. And he's making the most of the opportunity after a disappointing 2017 campaign on the Australia/Oceania Junior Qualifying Series.
"I worked pretty hard in the Juniors at the beginning of 2017, but I didn't have the best results," said Waida. "I started thinking that if I can get into a good enough spot on the QS then I might still be able to get into this event. Fortunately it worked and now I just want to go out there and have fun."
Men's Round Two results:
Heat 1: Finn McGill (HAW) 10.63 def. Kauli Vaast (FRA) 10.37
Heat 2: Rio Waida (IDN) 14.57 def. Jhonny Guerrero (PER) 11.83
Heat 3: Ocean Macedo (HAW) 16.40 def. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 15.90
Heat 4: Keanu Kamiyama (JPN) 11.53 def. John Mel (USA) 10.03
Heat 5: Yuji Nishi (JPN) 15.00 def. Marco Mignot (FRA) 12.40
Heat 6: Joao Chianca (BRA) 14.10 def. Theo Julitte (FRA) 13.27
Heat 7: Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.27 def. Yuri Ogasawara (JPN) 10.57
Heat 8: Joshe Faulkner (ZAF) 10.90 def. Max Elkington (ZAF) 9.03
Heat 9: Tyler Gunter (USA) 12.90 def. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 8.50
Heat 10: Ryland Rubens (USA) 13.60 def. Ford Van Jaarsveldt (ZAF) 5.70