Hawaii's Tatiana Weston-Webb has taken the Chain Resources Pro Junior, part of the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival, over Chelsea Tuach (BRB) in an exciting day of Finals surfing. The surf itself was inconsistent, but with peeling, clean 2-foot (0.6-metre) waves rolling into Fitzroy beach, the decision was made to finish the women's ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event.
The Semifinals were a truly international affair with surfers from New Zealand, Barbados, Hawaii and South Africa filling the final four spots, but it was Weston-Webb who reigned supreme to claim the US$1,369 prize-money.
Weston-Webb, runner-up at last year's ASP World Junior Championships in Brazil, started the day by getting revenge on Ella Williams (NZL) who defeated her in the Final. Weston-Webb eliminated the local reigning ASP World Junior Champion and built from there, linking solid searing turns and clocking excellent scores all the way to the top of the podium.
"I just went out there and had fun and it seemed to work," Weston-Webb said. "Ever since Ella (Williams) beat me in Brazil last year I've been wanting to get her back, so I was really happy after that heat. She's surfing really well at the moment so it gave me confidence to get on a roll and win."
Tuach was one of the most consistent surfers at the Chain Resources Pro Junior, winning heats and posting big scores seemingly with ease. Tuach had a knack for putting herself on the best waves of the heat by out-positioning her counterparts. All event long she was executing sharp and vertical snaps, but in the Final Tuach was left chasing a 9.15 that never came and was forced to settle for second place.
"It was tough and inconsistent at times today so I tried to get a good score as early as possible in all my heats," Tuach said. "In the Final I paddled into a great wave and I don't know what happened, maybe I got too execited, but I blew it. I ended up getting a couple of okay scores, but congrats to Tatiana (Weston-Webb), she surfed great and she deserved the win."
Sarah Mason (NZL) was New Zealand's highest-placed surfer, finishing equal third after being eliminated by Weston-Webb in the Semifinals. Mason was looking like the one to beat on Finals day, consistently posting excellent scores, but couldn't get past the in-form Hawaiian.
Keely Andrew (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) lost out in the Quarterfinals, but despite her uncharacteristically early exit she has retained the No. 1 spot on the ASP Australasia Women's JQS ranking's. Andrew will head into the final event as the favorite to claim the prestigious ASP Australasia Junior Championship.
The ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series Port Taranaki Pro and the men's Chain Resources Pro Junior were called off for the day and will crown event champions over the weekend.
For more information log on to Surffest.co.nz
New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival is presented by TSB Community Trust, Venture Taranaki, ZM, Marbles Buffet, Devon Hotel