The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing ran through a massive day of World Surf League (WSL) competition today, completing Round 2 of the Qualifying Series QS6000 division and crowning men's and women's champions in the Pro Junior divisions.
Kanoa Igarashi (Huntington Beach, CA/USA) took out the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing Pro Junior over Harry Bryant (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) in a dominant display. Seventeen-year-old Igarashi has a number of Pro Junior victories in his account, but this is the first outside North America.
"This win means a lot to me -- it's my first WSL win outside my region and the field was full of great surfers," Igarashi said. "I thought I didn't even get in the event for a while and to get in and win feels great. Last year I lost in the Quarterfinals and now to go a few spots better is unbelievable."
This was Bryant's first WSL Junior Tour Final and although he fought hard through a tough field of talented surfers, he was unable to match Igarashi.
"I'm really stoked to make the Final, it's a great way to start my year," Bryant said. "We've got a lot of events coming up and hopefully I can keep this roll going and get some more results. It's hard to make the Final and be that close to a win and not get it, but I'm not thinking about that too much -- I'm too happy right now."
Isabella Nichols (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) is a surfing star on the rise and today she won her first-ever WSL Junior Tour event win over Avoca's Macy Callaghan in spectacular fashion, posting a near-perfect 19.47 two-wave total. Nichols has also been one of the standouts in the women's QS6000 division, putting her sharp and precise brand of surfing to work at Manly Beach.
"It's great to win a WSL event. Even though it's a Pro Junior, to take a win at this level is special to me," said Nichols. "My main focus is the QS circuit this year and I'm still in the Open QS here and will surf Round 3 tomorrow so I can't get too excited even though I do feel good about the win and the high scores."
Deivid Silva (Brazil) sent a warning shot to his fellow competitors at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing, posting the highest two-wave heat total of the event so far with 19.10 (out of a possible 20). While some surfers struggled in the small surf, Silva excelled, linking together massive turns and aerials to advance into the next round.
"I'm really happy to get two 9-point-rides in one heat," Silva said. "This event is really important and I want to do well. I had two fellow Brazilians in that heat -- Caetano [Vargas] and Miguel [Pupo]. They are both great surfers and they push me to do better."
Kolohe Andino (USA) is the No. 2 seed here at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing and ranked No. 11 in the world. For most of his heat he languished in last place, but managed to find a strong 7-point-ride and shortly after backed it up with a 5.93, sneaking through the round in 2nd position.
"It was difficult conditions out there and I'm lucky to have scrapped through," said Andino. "I'm hearing that the swell will increase a lot in the coming days so I'm glad to be through that round and hopefully into some good surf for the upcoming rounds."
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