Bombo Beach Kiama, NSW/AUS (Friday, January 5, 2017) – Day 2 of the World Surf League (WSL) World Junior Championship (WJC) has brought with it the first lot of departures as Men’s elimination Round 2 hit the water. Competitors were delighted to be greeted with clean 2-to-3 foot waves at the beautiful Bombo Beach in Kiama on the NSW South Coast.
The opening heat of Round 2 saw recent Pipe Master’s trials winner Finn McGill take on Great Britain’s Arran Strong. Strong posted two early scores but was unable to overcome McGill who found a few long open lefthanders and put on an incredible display of backhand surfing to post a solid heat total of 14.77 (out of a possible 20) to move through to Round 3. “The waves were really fun out there,” McGill said. “It’s a lot cleaner than yesterday so you can really draw out your turns. There is a lot of opportunity to score, especially with only one other guy out. I feel I made a couple of priority mistakes so I’m stoked to have made it.”
After a four-day journey to get to Australia from Peru, Alonso Correa found himself in sudden-death Round 2 against fellow South American Kim Matheus Marconde. Marconde stayed busy posting a mid-range heat total of 12.90 while, Correa stayed a little more patient finding two long set waves to post a solid heat total of 14.83. He took the heat and moves through to Round 3. “I didn’t expect the waves to be that good today,” Correa said. “The waves are great for a contest. It was a shame to meet another South American in a heat so early but that is how contests go. It was a massive mission to get here so I’m glad to get past Round 2.”
Young Central Coaster Sandon Whittaker continued his great run of success with a heat win in Round 2. The powerful goofy-foot was awarded a wildcard into the WJC after he finished just outside the last qualifying spot. He made the most of his opportunity today catching 8 waves to post a heat total of 12.00 and move through to Round 3. “I’m so relieved to get that heat out of the way,” Whittaker said. “I had a bit of a ‘shocker’ yesterday and melted down a bit, but I got it together and I’m really stoked to have got through that heat. I had a more relaxed approach today and found it a lot easier to stick to my strategy, especially considering there were a few running lefts heading down the beach.”
After South African Sebastian Williams was unable to make it to the WJC, Japanese ripper Kei Kobayashi was unsure if he would have an opponent in his Round 2 heat. The next competitor in line for a spot in the WJC was Kiwi Te Kehukehu Butler who yesterday was at home in New Zealand. Hearing of his opportunity to surf at Kiama, Butler jumped on a plane and before he knew it was out in the line-up. Unfortunately for Butler, as the conditions deteriorated it was Kobayashi’s aerial prowess that prevailed and sees him progress into Round 3.
“I wasn’t really prepared for that heat at all,” Kobayashi said. “I spoke to Sebastian and knew he wasn’t coming and as Australia is so hard to get to I didn’t think anyone would show up. When I found out Kehu was coming I knew it would be hard because he is such a good surfer. When I finally got that section for a good air I knew it would be tough for him to come back so I’m stoked.”
East Coasters Chauncey Robinson and Stevie Pittman both lost their Round Two heats, which means their World Junior Championship run is over. Bajan Ché Allan, however, won and will face Japan’s Yago Mori in Round Three. The WSL World Junior Championships has been secured for Kiama by the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event will run from January 4-13 2017. Check back at www.WorldSurfLeague.com or check out the WSL app for more information on the event and for the live webcast.