A huge day of surfing at the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival saw Quarterfinalists decided in the 6-Star Qualifying Series (QS) Port Taranaki Pro and Jacob Willcox (AUS) claim victory in the Chain Resources Men's Pro Junior.
The 2014 ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) also wrapped up today for the men, crowning a series champion and deciding which four male surfers get the chance to compete at the ASP World Junior Championships later this year.
Silvana Lima (Brazil), former ASP WCT No. 2, sprung into the Quarterfinals with style, posting the highest single-wave score in the process--a 9.27. Lima is competing on the QS, fighting for a spot back on the elite Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) after injury and bad results saw her fall off Tour, now she is back and surfing as fast and furious as ever.
"It's great to be into the Quarterfinals, but Semis or better is my goal," Lima said. "I feel really comfortable here, I've surfed in this event before and the waves here are really similar to what I surf all the time at home in Brazil."
Current No. 15 on the ASP QS rankings, Keely Andrew (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS), will be improving on her already impressive position after advancing into the Quarterfinals of the Port Taranaki Pro. Andrew will take on Sage Erickson (USA) in Quarterfinal 2 when competition resumes.
"It was a tough heat, I had Nage (Melamed) and Alize (Arnaud) and they're both such good surfers," Andrew said. "I started off pretty average and eventually I just built scores throughout the heat, so I'm pretty happy with it. This is my best result so far this year so I'm looking to build on that."
Laura Enever (North Narrabeen, NSW/AUS) is the only current member of the Top 17 ASP WCT left in the draw at the Port Taranaki Pro, after she progressed into the Quarterfinals and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA) and Dimity Stoyle failed to advance.
"I need all the heats I can get to get me into the right mindset and get my competitiveness back," Enever said. "Brazil will have similar beach break waves to here so I'm excited for Finals day tomorrow.."
In men's competition, Soli Bailey (Byron Bay, NSW/AUS) lost in the round before the Quarterfinals, surfing with six stitches in his foot, but still amassed enough points to claim the prestigious ASP Australasia Junior Championship. Bailey has joined a star studded list of former winners including Owen Wright (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Adrian Buchan (AUS).
"When I cut my foot last week I thought I'd blown my chance of winning the ASP Australasia Junior Championships," Bailey said. "It gave a little more drive to surf, but I made it through the heat that I needed to win and it's feels amazing to have my name on the list of former winners that includes some of the best surfers in the world. I've always been consistent, but this is the biggest achievement in my competitive career."
Willcox was by far the standout surfer of the entire Chain Resources Pro Junior, launching and landing massive airs and carving all the way through the field of 48. Jackson Giles (Maroubra, NSW/AUS) was also impressive, but was forced to settle for second for the second time this season after he was unable to get past Wilcox in the Final.
The ASP 6-Star Port Taranaki Pro will crown an event champion tomorrow.
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