Who Is The Best Junior Surfer In The World?
When you approach a World Surf League event there is an enormity and energy of the whole operation. The dominance of the WSL logo, white on black and wrap around giant camera platforms and a not-so-temporary looking building that is the centre of the athlete’s universe for the duration of the event. The VIP area is a lush, tropical setting with modern furnishings and palms. When breakfast is served, the tables are flooded. It’s right before the morning call is made. It’s ON!
18 of the world’s best female surfers have made their way into the coastal town south of Sydney to compete in the 2017 World Junior Championships. It is the culmination of the world junior events held over the 2017 competition year with the top surfers in each of the World Surf Leagues regions invited to attend. Surfers who have made their way from the far corners of the globe. South Africa, Brazil, Peru, Portugal Hawaii, Japan, England and the US of A are here. Sitting amongst them you hear the chatter between coach and surfer, mum, dad and their child could be the World Junior Champ this year. Hell, their child could be the World Surfing Champion. Champion of the world or Olympic gold medallist.
It’s a crazy thought, but it’s a reality that’s present with these kids this week.
We kicked off at Bombo Beach located two-and-a-half hours south of the big smoke on Thursday 4 January with (fun) conditions ranging between 2-3 feet in the northern corner. The girls we lucky enough to kick off their round one heats on the outgoing tide as the sun came out. As the sun rose on day two they were back in the water for a crystal clear morning. Waves and swell dipped and the heats slow but contestable. It’s round two when the first dreams are dashed.
This event signals the start of the surfing new year. Most of these girls are sticking around in Australia for the upcoming run of qualifying series events that mix into the championship tour events or they’re heading across the Pacific Ocean and to the East Coast of America for the first QS 6000 event in Florida. The first in a long time. (SEE ALSO: Caroline Marks Is The Youngest Surfer To Ever Qualify For the Surfing World Championship Tour)
Macy Callaghan arrived on the first day looking as bright, bold and determined as always. She’s the defending World Junior Champ and she wants a second trophy. Macy stands tall at 174cm and has bright blue eyes that glow like highlighter texters. At the last QS event of the year, the Port Stephens Pro, she missed out on CT qualification by 0.61. There’s no sign of that loss this week.
We will move through the rounds and share the results via our INSTAGRAM STORIES @themermaidsocietyonline
Teresa Bonvalot, (PRT), Alyssa Lock (AUS), Sophie Bell (ZAF), Vahine Fierro (PYF), Kirra Pinkerton (USA) Kayla Nogueira (ZAF), Macy Callaghan(AUS), Shino Matsuda (JPN), Ellie Turner (GBR), Zoe McDougall (HAW), Alyssa Spencer (USA), Sol Aguirre (PER), Minori Kawai(JPN), Zahli Kelly (AUS), Sara Wakita (JPN), Summer Macedo (HAW), Sophia Fulton (AUS), Taina Hinckel (BRA).
Check out the results and watch live on the WORLD SURF LEAGUE website or APP.
Photos by Surfing NSW / Ethdog Smith