Courtney Cologne

It was girl fever at the 2010 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in Piha today, with the Under 18 Girls´ surfing on day four in New Zealand.

With easing 4-6 ft (1.5m) beach break conditions, contest organizers opted to run qualifying rounds one and two of the under 18 girls on the main event podium, along with repercharge one and two of the under 16 boys and repercharge two of the under 18 boys on podium two.

After three days off, the girls shredded the south Piha line-up to shreds, pushing the limit in the race for all-important qualifying round three berths.

Defending U/18 girls ISA World Junior champion Tyler Wright (Lennox Heads, Aus) kicked off her title defense in style, netting both the opening round's highest individual wave score (8.5) and two-wave combined total (14.00).

The talented regular foot, which is the youngest surfer to ever win an ASP World Tour event, looked composed in the bumpy conditions to easily beat the Portugal pairing of Ana Sarmento and Maria Abecasis.

“I'm very happy with this result,” said Wright. “ There were some fun waves coming through and I'm glad about how I surfed. I had to wait for a good one, but it finally came and I got the score.”

But she wasn't so dominant in her qualifying round two heat, outscored by ISA 2019 World Surfing Games Champion, USA's Courntey Conlogue in one of the best heats of the day. Both surfers going head-to-head in the tight exchange, unleashing their full repertoire of maneuvers to both progress into qualifying round three. Conlogue finished just ahead of Wright – 12.00 to 11.25.

“Things went well for me today,” said Conlogue. “The waves were fun, probably the best since we got here and I gave my best.” She added that defeating Wright was a confidence boost, but wasn't her main focus. “Beating Tyler (Wright) is positive, but I compete against myself,” she said. “In the heat I just went for the best waves and tried to do my best.”

Team USA has another successful day with Lakey Peterson and Taylor Pitz joining Conlogue as qualifying round two winners.

Also through to qualifying round three was Australian Phillipa Anderson (Merewether), who bested USA's Kaleigh Gilchrist in a dominating performance.

Anderson accrued a 14.00 total to Gilchrist's 7.80. Tahiti's Popkke Karelle and South Africa's Tanika Hoffman finished in third and fourth respectively.

But history was made at Piha today. Seven year old Gabriella Aguirre (Ecuador) became the youngest competitor to ever compete at an ISA World Junior Surfing Championship event, lining up against Hawaiian Nage Melamed (Haw) and Tahiti's Maro Mauraii in round one of the U/18 girls.

Competing against girls over double her age, Aguirre made her country proud by finishing an honorable third.

Hawaiian Alessa Quizon set the standard for qualifying round two, upstaging New Zealand surfer Jayda Fitzharris (Gisborne) to breeze through to qualifying round three.

Despite finishing in second, Fitzharris progressed through to qualifying round three, along with fellow Kiwi surfer Alexis Poulter (Raglan), who took line honors in her round two heat.

New Zealand surfing sensation Sarah Mason failed to progress through her talent-packed, qualifying round two heat, finishing fourth against France's Canelle Bulard, Hawaii's Malia Manuel and Australia's Ellie-Jean Coffey.

Earlier today, Mason was lucky to squeeze through to round two, amassing a 6.00 total to finish in second behind the USA's Taylor Pittz's (13.25 total).

Mason, who was born in New Zealand but lives on the Gold Coast of Australia, started the 20-minute heat in a shaky fashion. After a few low scores, Mason hit back nailing a 4.65 to eventually hold onto second place.

Mason will now line-up in repercharge two when the Under 18 girl's division recommences.

In the under 18 boy's repercharge two, Hawaiian Tanner Hendrickson put his fellow competitors on notice, netting the highest individual wave score of the event so far (9.25) to storm into the next repechage round. Other winners in the division included fellow Hawaiian's Keanu Aising, Ezekiel Lau and Kaimana Jaquias, as well as South African's Michael February and David Brand, and USA's Andrew Doheny and Peru's Christobal De Col.

The Under 16 Boys repercharge two was also completed with Portugal's Vasco Ribeiro and Miquel Blanco taking wins, along with France's Ugo Robin and Andy Criere. Martin Jeri (Peru), Jarred Veldhuis (South Africa) and Tane Wallis (NZL).

In this round, South African Dylan Lightfoot surfed amazingly to get the highest combined total of the event so far of 16.25.

Competition is expected to continue tomorrow with improved conditions foreed for the prestigious tournament.


SOURCE: ISA World Juniors