VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia/USA (Saturday, August 24, 2013) - After two consecutive lay-days, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star Vans Pro Junior returned to competition, deciding the event's Semifinalists in windy one-to-three foot waves at 1st Street Jetty.
Stop No. 4 of 5 on the 2013 ASP North America Pro Junior Series, the Vans Pro Junior plays a vital role in qualification for the ASP World Junior Tour as well as the regional under-21 title.
Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), 16, who is still competing in the Men's Vans Pro, continued to assert his dominance among the Vans Pro Junior field, unloading the high heat totals through two Rounds today including a 17.50 and 17.00 while advancing to the Semifinals. The Japanese up-and-comer took to his forehand again today, dismantling the righthanders at 1st Street Jetty with a combination of lightning quick snaps and a technical aerial game.
"It's pretty hard conditions, but it's pretty rippable and sometimes a good one will come through," Ohhara said. "I got a couple of good waves and I'm stoked to make that heat. I'm also still going in the Men's event and these points are important for me. I'm happy to have a good event because I've traveled from Japan and hopefully I can get a good result tomorrow."
Rafael Teixeira (BRA), 20, delivered the upset of the day, defeating defending event champion Keanu Asing (Ewa Beach, HI), 20, in a hard fought Quarterfinals heat. Teixeira is another international campaigner still in the running for the Men's Vans Pro title as well and hopes to maintain his form on the final day tomorrow.
"I'm really happy to win that heat and even though the conditions are difficult, I'm a competitor and I practice in the same conditions at home," Teixeira said. "I'm just going to relax and prepare for tomorrow because I have a big day with the Junior and the QS. Maybe the conditions will be better tomorrow and I'm just going to surf my best no matter what."
Kalani David[ (North Shore, HI), 15, built momentum throughout the day, advancing through a close Round of 32 heat before taking a commanding Quarterfinals victory. The talented Hawaiian would revel in the onshore conditions, launching an impressive aerial attack to secure a Semifinals berth.
"I just went out there and forgot I had a jersey on and went out and had fun," David said. "I just pretended it was a bad session out at Ehukai at home and it worked. I had fun and I actually thought the waves were pretty fun. The wind was making these little chops and these sick air sections so I was stoked."
The Quarterfinals heat victory marks a crucial win for David, substantially increasing his qualification hopes for both the Vans Triple Crown and the prestigious ASP World Junior Championships.
"When I signed up for this event I saw I was No. 5 on the rankings and I was coming here to try and qualify for the Triple Crown through my Junior points," David said. "Hopefully I can do well again tomorrow and maybe make it through to the final."
Joshua Moniz (HAW), 18, contributed to a day of Hawaiian success, besting current frontrunners on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series (/athletes/2821/jake-halstead)Jake Halstead] (La Jolla, CA), 20, and Carlos Muniz (CRI), 20, advancing to the Vans Pro Semifinals.
That was a hard heat," Moniz said. "Jake (Halstead) and Carlos (Muniz) are probably two of the hardest guys in the event so I was pretty nervous going in to that heat. I kind of got lucky and got a couple of mid scores and just squeaked it through."
Champions for both the Vans Pro and Vans Pro Junior will be crowned tomorrow. Watch the webcast LIVE via www.vans.com/ecsc.