Kirra Pinkerton Returns To USA To Claim Victory In Florida
Key American Junior Surfers Get Straight Back To Business In Florida
Kirra Pinkerton has returned from her brief tour in Australia to take out the women’s Roxy Junior Pro. The event held at Cocoa Beach in Florida was jam-packed with action between the men’s WQS Ron Jon event and the Pro Junior. Conditions were clean at one-to-three-foot and the girls were ripping.
There is a generation of juniors in American surfing right now who are so incredibly dynamic, powerful and full of energy. Together they will move through the juniors, into the qualifying series and then some will qualify for the championship tour. One, in fact, has already transitioned. As the girls surfed Florida over the weekend, Floridian Caroline Marks made her CT debut at the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks. She’s the youngest surfer in history to qualify for the dream tour and she represents a very strong movement of junior surfers who are about to crack into the spotlight.
Alyssa Spencer is one of these girls and Kirra Pinkerton another and joined by Eva Woodland and Tiare Thompson in the final the girls went wave for wave with high-ranges scores continuing to drop. Kirra said after the final “Alyssa got that 8.50 to start and I thought, ‘No!” All I was thinking was that I needed to find the wave…my head calmed a little bit after getting that 7.17 and then got a little rattled when she backed it up so I went over to a different spot.” After finding a final double-up and smashing out a strong transition of turns Kirra finished with a 16.34 heat total to take back the lead and the victory.
The 15-year-old now has back-to-back North America Junior Tour wins after winning the Live Like Zander Pro Junior In Memory of Zander Venezia to finish 2017. Her win this weekend puts her in number one position on the rankings for the first time with Alyssa Spencer following close behind in second, as the Californian duo start 2018 in terrific fashion.
We had a quick chat with Kirra after her win;
Getting back to the US and straight back into competition after a big trip to Australia must have been tough?
Yeah, it was hard with the jetlag and the time change adjustment. As soon as I got off the plane in California I was back on another to fly across to Florida.
Did you learn anything new from the trip?
I learnt a lot, especially with small wave strategy and which of my boards work best. I also worked on my competition mindset. Both pre and post heat, it’s really important and something I wanted to work on.
What are your plans for 2018 now?
I’m going to focus on the Pro Juniors and Qualifying Series events as well as the NSSA Championships.
Has the NSSA played a big role in your development as a professional surfer?
The NSSA, along with Surfing America Primes have been a really big part of my surfing because they take me to the next level. I am where I am now through those competitions and the strong level of the surfers I come up against. You surf so many heats in those events and you get a lot of experience from each one.
So what boards are you riding this year and why have you chosen them?
I’m on Lost Mayhem Surfboards. I’ve got a 5’5 1/2 Pocket Rocket and it rides great in all conditions. It’s the board I took to World Juniors in Australia and the two qualifying series’s as well as this Florida event. It allows me to go rail-to-rail without really smoothly and without force.
What have you learnt about your strengths out in the waves?
If I’m surfing lefts, my backside is really strong from surfing Lowers lefts all day.
And your weakness?
Definitely small waves on my front side.
We can’t wait to see the girls continue into summer with more home events on both the west and east coasts.
Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro Final Results:
1 – Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 16.34 1,000 points
2 – Alyssa Spencer (USA) 15.17 750 points
3 – Eva Woodland CRI) 7.76 560 points
4 – Tiare Thompson (USA) 7.53 525 points
Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 9.93, Eva Woodland (USA) 8.50, Zoe Benedetto (USA) 3.33, Ava McGowan (USA) 2.00
SF 2: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 17.43, Tiare Thompson (USA) 13.63, Valentina Resano (NIC) 10.66, Samantha Sibley (USA) 9.23