Hailing from the world-class lefthander of Whangamata (the "Whanga Bar"), located on New Zealand's North Island, the 19-year-old Williams has a power-based forehand approach and will join the elite Tour competitors in Fiji from May 25 - 30.
With the Women's Rio Pro presented by Billabong in the books, the world's best female surfers set their collective sights on the new addition to the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women's World Championship Tour (WCT), returning the Top 17 to the reef passes of Cloudbreak and Restaurants for the first time in seven years.
The ASP caught up with Williams moments after receiving the news of her spot in the event:
ASP: What were you first thoughts upon hearing you'll join the ASP Top 17 in Fiji?
Williams: I was working in my parents' surf shop it was just another quiet day...next minute I get the email about being the wildcard for the Fiji Women's Pro and I just started running around the shop in excitement! Then I called my brother and mum and dad to tell them the good news! I was almost in tears with excitement!
You claimed the ASP World Junior Title last November. How has your life changed since then? Winning the ASP World Junior Title has transformed my life in such a positive way. It has opened up so many doors for me which is a big help for me in my goal to become a World Champion. It's been an amazing ride that doesn't seem to end. It keeps getting better!
Do you have any experience at Cloudbreak and/or Restaurants?
I went there with my family when I was very young so I don't remember very much. I'm super excited to be going, and surfing in a WCT event there is just so much better. I feel so lucky to be asked to be a part of this amazing event. Very grateful. So thank you so so much ASP!
What are your career goals and who inspires you to reach them? My goal is to qualify for the ASP Women's World Championship Tour... and win World Titles. Biggest surfing inspirations would have to be my brother Braedon, Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore, Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning. They are all so amazing and I look up to them all so much from what they do in the water to how nice and positive they all are.
Official press announcement below:
ASP Announces ASP World Junior Champion Ella Williams as Fiji Women's Pro Wildcard
LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Monday, May 12, 2014) â€“ ASP International is pleased to announce the allocation of the Fiji Women's Pro wildcard to reigning ASP Women's World Junior Champion Ella Williams of New Zealand.
Williams will join the world's best female surfers, the ASP Top 17, as they return to the world-class Fijian reef breaks of Cloudbreak and Restaurants from May 25 â€“ 30, 2014 for the fifth stop on this season's Samsung Galaxy ASP Women's World Championship Tour.
â€œI was working in my parents' surf shop and it was just another quiet day,â€ Williams said. â€œNext minute, I get an email about being the wildcard for the Fiji Women's Pro and I just started running around the shop in excitement. I called my brother and mum and dad to tell them the good news. I was almost in tears with excitement.â€
The ASP World Junior Championships have long served as a barometer for future greatness with past winners going on to excel on the ASP Qualification Series (QS) as well as the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT). Williams's wildcard for Fiji represents the first instance in which the ASP has allocated such a position to a WCT event.
â€œWith the opportunity to determine the wildcard for the Fiji Women's Pro, it was important for us to award it to a surfer who is not only a great ambassador for the sport but also someone who poses a legitimate threat to the ASP Top 17,â€ Jessi Miley-Dyer, ASP Deputy Commissioner, said. â€œAs reigning ASP World Junior Champion, Ella has been a great inspiration to young athletes around the world â€“ particularly in her home country of New Zealand. She's a powerful goofy-footer and we're looking forward to her performance in Fiji.â€
Williams claimed her current ASP World Junior title with a win at Brazil's Joaquina Beach over Kauaian Tatiana Weston-Webb last November. The victory vaulted the modest New Zealander onto the international stage and she currently sits at No. 19 on the ASP QS rankings.
â€œWinning the ASP World Junior Title has transformed my life in such a positive way,â€ Williams said. â€œIt has opened up so many doors for me which is a big help for me in my goal to become a world champion. It has been such an amazing ride that doesn't seem to end. My goal is to qualify for the WCTâ€¦and to win a world title.â€
The 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women's World Championship Tour has completed the opening four of 10 events this season with reigning two-time ASP Women's World Champion Carissa Moore leading the pack following the Gold Coast, Margaret River, Bells Beach and Rio de Janeiro.
The Fiji Women's Pro will take place from May 25 â€“ 30, 2014 and will be webcast LIVE on aspworldtour.com