COCOA BEACH, Florida/USA (Sunday, March 10, 2013) - Jake Halstead (La Jolla, CA) has taken out the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 3-Star Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro Junior compliments of an impressive come-from-behind victory over fellow finalists Victor Bernardo (BRA), Cam Richards (Garden City Beach, SC) and /athletes/3121/daniel-glenn)[Daniel Glenn] (New Smyrna Beach, FL) in challenging three-to-five foot surf at Sheppard Beach Park.
Halstead started his final campaign in strong form, opening up with a 7-point ride on his backhand during a flurry of exchanges from the finalists. The San Diegan struggled to find a backup wave throughout the final, but found an additional left in the dying minutes of his heat and connected several crucial backhand turns, earning an 8-point ride to secure his first career ASP Pro Junior victory.
"Victor (Bernardo) has been surfing so consistently this whole contest and to win I knew I was going to have to start with a big score and finish with a big score," Halstead said. "Somehow it worked out and that's how it unfolded. I opened with a mid-range 7 and so did Victor. I didn't really get anything through the middle part of the heat and I ended up getting both of my scores on the lefts, which was funny because I hadn't gone left the whole event. This little double up left came through at the end and I couldn't help but go and try my best and claim it."
Halstead's win at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro Junior marks a commendable return to competition after suffering a severe ankle injury that sidelined the regular-footer for several months. While the injury was a major setback, Halstead feels that he is now surfing better than ever.
"This is my first Pro Junior win," Halstead said. "To come back off of my ankle injury and win is awesome. I've been back in the water for about two months now and it's made me realize that I need to do some training in between. It was a wakeup call and I've learned from it."
Victor Bernardo was dangerous throughout the entirety of the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro Junior, posting standout heat wins throughout the entirety of the event. The young Brazilian struck first in the Final and found a backup score shortly after, but was unable to hold off Halstead's last minute charge and finished runner-up overall.
"I tried to do my best and did a couple of good maneuvers," Bernardo said. "I was winning and then Jake got that wave for the win. Second place is good though and thanks to everyone who has been taking care of me here."
Today's final appearance by Bernardo marks a breakthrough on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series and the South American transplant plans to continue his focus on North American events.
"I'm going back to California to work on my English and try and compete," Bernardo said. "I've had a great time here in Florida. It's a beautiful place and the waves remind me of home in Brazil. I'd definitely come back if we have another event."
Cam Richards was another East Coaster who looked comfortable in today's stormy beachbreak conditions. Richards matched his opponents' efforts during the opening exchange of the final, boosting a big air-reverse of his own, but was unable to secure a backup score and finished in third place.
"When I saw the Final draw with Victor, I knew I wouldn't win safety surfing," Richards said. "I knew I was going to have to do some airs. My first one was good and I couldn't find another wave after that."
Richards, who has now finaled in both of his ASP Pro Junior appearances, is hoping to have a breakthrough season on the Regional Junior Series with a goal of qualifying for the elite ASP World Junior Tour.
"I've done two Junior Pros and made two finals, so I'm stoked," Richards said. "I'm definitely hoping to qualify for Worlds, that's my goal."
Daniel Glenn was another standout to work his way in to the final at Cocoa Beach. Glenn strung together one impressive effort after another during the event, but was unable to find the waves needed for the win in the final and finished fourth overall.
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