Miguel Pupo: juniors are pumping

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-2 US Open Junior Pro kicked off the nine-day marathon event at South Huntington Beach Pier by cutting the men’s ASP Pro Junior field in half from 64 surfers to 32.

Tanner Hendrickson (Maui, HI), 18, and Miguel Pupo (Sao Paulo, BRA), 18, led the early rounds by posting the day’s top scores while defending women's event champion Malia Manuel (Wailua, HI), 16, advanced through the women’s US Open Junior Pro action as the Semifinalists were decided in one-to-three foot (1 metre) surf.

Surfers competing on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series are out to finish within the top of their regional ratings in an attempt to qualify for the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour.

Hendrickson patiently navigated through the inconsistent conditions in his heat to pick off one of the day’s best waves while matching the event’s highest single wave score, an 8.67 out of 10, on the way to posting the day’s highest heat total, a solid 15.54 out of 20.

“I’m stoked with my heats this morning,” Hendrickson said. “I was in that heat with my good friend Keala (Naihe) and we were just splitting peaks and having fun. There’s a good bank out there and once the swell picks up I think it’s going to be a really good contest.”

With an increase in swell expected to fill in throughout the evening, the young Hawaiian is hungry to do battle with the event’s top seeds in improved conditions.

“I’m stoked to go against the top seeds, especially in good conditions,” Hendrickson said. “I’m just looking to try my best and hopefully get some good waves. As long as everyone is getting good waves, there’s nothing much more you can really ask for.”

Pupo relied on impressive rail-turns and new-school rotations to share the highest single-wave score of the day, an 8.67 out of 10, while looking comfortable in Huntington’s tricky beachbreak conditions en route to two heat victories.

“Huntington is pretty good,” Pupo said. “I’ve been coming here for five years so it’s like home for me.”

Pupo, who is also competing in the Men’s ASP PRIME event, is hoping that his early round ASP Pro Junior success will help him build momentum before tackling some of the globe’s finest talent in an attempt to climb the ladder on the ASP World Ranking.

“I’m doing the PRIME event next week,” Pupo said. “Hopefully I can get a good result to help climb the ratings. It’s great to do this event first to get a feel for conditions and to get comfortable on your board.”

Manuel, who is the defending US Open Junior Pro Champion and the youngest ever winner of the Women’s ASP 6-Star event at 14, started strong in her opening heat to advance through to the Semifinals despite not competing in a contest for several months.

“I’m very happy to get that first heat out of the way,” Manuel said. “I haven’t surfed a contest since the last Pro Junior in March, so it’s good to get that first one under my belt. I’m looking forward to the whole week and I’m just happy to be doing more contests.”

The Hawaiian standout has focused on her health on her down time and reverted to an older magic-board to help get her settled in her first heat of the event.

“I went to Indonesia, but that’s obviously nothing like here (Huntington),” Manuel said. “I was also home for a month so that was nice, but I’ve just been focusing on staying healthy and working on boards. I stuck with my old faithful that I’ve been riding for a few months in that last heat and it worked out.”

US Open Junior Pro Round of 48 Results:
Heat 1: Taylor Clark (USA) 10.23, Alex Smith (HAW) 9.26, Oliver Kurtz (USA) 8.83
Heat 2: Tanner Hendrickson (USA) 15.54, Kealamakia Naihe (HAW) 7.94, Nic Hdez (USA) 3.17
Heat 3: Ian Crane (USA) 13.87, Kyle McGeary (USA) 12.24, Derek Peters (USA) 10.94
Heat 4: John Florence (HAW) 6.27, Colton Larson (USA) 5.34, Balaram Stack (USA) 5.33
Heat 5: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.54, Taylor Clark (USA) 10.23, Alex Smith (USA) 9.26
Heat 6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.83, Conner Coffin (USA) 13.54, Dane Zaun (USA) 3.10
Heat 7: Tayler Brothers (USA) 9.10, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 8.64, Makai McNamara (HAW) 6.74
Heat 8: Jacob Halstead (USA) 13.17, Victor Done (USA) 9.83, Tyler Newton (HAW) 9.83

US Open Junior Pro Round of 64 Results:
Heat 1: Oliver Kurtz (USA) 8.94, Kealamakia Naihe (HAW) 7.94, Nathan Carvalho (HAW) 7.70, Keto Burns (USA) 7.26
Heat 2: Alex Smith (HAW) 14.17, Nic Hdez (USA) 8.67, Billy Hopkins (USA) 8.37, Chase Brady (USA) 7.13
Heat 3: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 10.60, Taylor Clark (USA) 7.26, Christian Saenz (USA) 6.67, Ryan Croteaux (USA) 5.20
Heat 4: Derek Peters (USA) 8.84, Colton Larson (USA) 6.43, Chris Salisbury (AUS) 6.23, Levi Gonzales (HAW) 4.67
Heat 5: Ian Crane (USA) 9.47, John John Florence (HAW) 8.40, Nick Rupp (USA) 7.53, Kyle Galloway (ZAF) 4.57
Heat 6: Balaram Stack (USA) 8.50, Kyle McGeary (USA) 7.66, Kalani David (USA) 7.00, Austin Rowe (USA) 3.37
Heat 7: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.40, Dane Zaun (USA) 12.17, Antoine Allain (USA) 8.56, Jared Thorne (USA) 7.76
Heat 8: Granger Larsen (HAW) 13.90, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.07, Dylan Kowalski (USA) 8.24, Masato Yukawa (JPN) 7.67
Heat 9: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.77, Gabe Garcia (USA) 12.84, Mitch Crews (AUS) 9.60, J.D. Lewis (USA) 8.48
Heat 10: Tayler Brothers (USA) 10.33, Victor Done (USA) 6.92, Doug Van Mierlo (USA) 6.27, Colton Sarlo (USA) 5.00
Heat 11: Makai McNamara (HAW) 10.60, Jacob Halstead (USA) 8.60, Shaw Kobayashi (USA) 6.77, Taylor Thorne (USA) 6.66
Heat 12: Tyler Newton (HAW) 13.50, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 12.00, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 9.37, Billy Kemper (USA) 4.53

US Open Junior Pro Women’s Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.03, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 11.77, Justine Dupont (FRA) 9.30, Haley Watson (USA) 2.77
Heat 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 7.06, Sarah Baum (ZAF) 6.80, Taylor Pitz (USA) 4.40, Alexia Jeri (PER) 4.17
Heat 3: Laura Enever (AUS) 14.93, Coco Ho (HAW) 10.50, Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.13, Jasset Umbel (USA) 4.64
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.40, Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.36, Sarah Taylor (USA) 4.10, Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN) 0

Surf training facility: respect, they will do it!

Australia is set to maintain its tag as the world’s premier surfing nation, with the federal government pledging $2 million to Surfing Australia for a dedicated training facility at a media conference at Casuarina, NSW today.

As part of its commitment to the sport, Surfing Australia will build the world’s first purpose-built high performance training facility at Casuarina, Northern NSW to support our elite athlete development pathway.

Minister for Sport The Hon Kate Ellis, Member for Richmond The Hon Justine Elliot along with a host of past and present Australian world surfing champions including 7 x ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (Sydney, NSW), 1978 ASP Men’s World Champion Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew (Coolangatta, Qld) and 2009 ASP Men’s World no.2 Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, Qld) were present for the day’s announcement.

Surfing Australia Chief Executive Officer Andrew Stark said the surf training facility would be internationally recognised as the world’s best practice for high performance surfing development.

“This is a monumental day for Surfing Australia and will ensure our continued domination of international surfing into the future. We are extremely appreciative of this support from the Federal Government,” he said.

“We now have an opportunity to transform and evolve surfing in Australia to ensure that we stay ahead of the rest of the world as the number one surfing nation. For some time now, Australian surfers have been at risk of falling behind our international rivals who are increasingly investing in bridging the gap. Through this new purpose built High Performance Centre we will be engaging the very best in sports science and cutting edge athlete performance technology to ensure Australian surfers have the absolute world’s best training environment. We will be working with the Australian Institute of Sport to ensure our facilities and training techniques are cutting edge and that they result in continued world champion results.”

Surfing Australia Chairman Norm Innis agrees that the facility will lead the way in surfing development.

“The new High Performance Centre for Surfing at Casuarina will not only be the centre of excellence for the sport in Australia, but it will be the leading facility of its kind around the globe,” he said.

“As such, it should cement Australia’s “World No. 1” position for surfing performance, and coaching and officiating development, for many years to come.”

Surfing in Australia has become an important part of the Australian culture and today more than ever the sport of surfing is truly synonymous with the Australian sporting landscape.

“Surfing is a healthy, whole of life national sport and a part of the Australian ethos and culture,” added Stark. “It is vitally important we continue to produce Australian world champions for our sports development and success into the future. The strength of our sport development pathway and massive participation numbers of 2.5 million per year are affected by international success. This is evident in many Australian sports and this new facility will ensure we continue our international success into the future.”

“Along with a new national training facility, we will be working closely with the Australian Sports Commission to build a stronger national high performance system and culture that will see our elite surfers supported and serviced at all levels of the event and athlete pathway. This is truly an exciting time for our sport and will ensure many podium results into the future for Australian surfers.”

Surfing Australia proposes to construct a new multilevel building on a dedicated freehold title, which was gifted to Australia’s peak body for the sport of surfing by Consolidated Properties.

Once complete, the training facility will boast world-class education facilities, administration offices as well as treatment and conditioning rooms. This would be combined with skilled coaches and cutting-edge sports science sports medicine services.

Elite surfers and coaches would not only have state of the art facilities at their fingertips but also have access to specialist programs and the facility’s extensive resources.

The facility will be based on the wave rich Northern NSW coastline at Casuarina Beach. This strategic location is 15 minutes south of the world class Gold Coast point breaks, but enough distance away to allow training and coaching in idyllic conditions with uncrowded waves.

Charles Martin: from Guadeloupe with waves

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Nikita Pro Junior Sopelana today crowned both men’s and women’s champions during another long day of competitive surfing which saw Charles Martin (GLP) take the men’s title over Filipe Jervis (PRT), William Aliotti (FRA) and Ramizi Boukiam (MAR). While Alizee Arnaud (FRA) left her opponents battling for the minor placings in an overwhelming display of dominance.

Peaky 3ft (1m) waves were on offer during the day with event officials halting the event during the lower tide to allow the best conditions possible for the finals late this afternoon. Clear skies and perfect beach weather assured a huge crowd lining the shore. With the swell decreasing and a poor prediction for the following days organisers were forced to finish two days ahead of schedule.

Charles Martin (GLP) 20, may have entered the water for the 40-minute final a little pushed for time but this did little to hinder him getting off to a flying start opening his account with a 7.83 which he immediately backed up with an 8.83 out of a possible 10 to take the lead which he never surrendered.

Surfing from round one and focused on this his last year on the ASP Pro Junior Tour Martin has decided to concentrate on the remaining two ASP sanctioned Pro Junior events being held over the next two weeks to run for the ASP European Junior title and to secure his place on this year’s inaugural ASP World Junior Series to be held in Bali and Australia.

“I was in the car listening to music with a friend thinking I had enough time,” explained a smiling Martin about his sprint to the contest area. “Then when I was coming down the beach I heard the end of the girls final so I just ran to get my vest and they started celebrating the victory of Alizee so I had a little more time and I just got in the water and I caught that first wave and I was straight into a good rhythm.

“I got the first left that came in and that got me going,” continued Martin. “Then a few more came through and then it kind of went slower for the last part of the final. The two best waves of the final came straight to me so I was lucky,”

Event officials waited during the middle of the day for the tide to push in before running the finals which were held in some of the best waves of the entire event. Punchy beach breaks allowing for a variety of turns and manoeuvres on both the lefts and rights. Martin chose to destroy the right handers laying down some huge rail turns in front of the large crowd lining the shore.

“It was the best waves actually that I have surfed here at Sopelana and I am stoked to win in my first pro junior of the year and I hope to keep it going in the rest of the series. This is my last year as a pro junior so I have left the WQS for the moment and I want to concentrate on these next two events in Gran Canaria and Lacanau and just focus on the overall results so I get to do the World Junior Series this year”

Filipe Jervis (PRT) was one of the form surfers in the Nikita Pro Junior Sopelana in runner-up position ahead of William Aliotti (FRA) 16, who finished third in his first ever ASP pro junior event. Commenting a little about today’s result and playing down the tag of ‘wonder kid’ Aliotti was calmly pleased with his efforts.

“Today I am very happy with my third place in my first pro junior and with the surfing we saw today I enjoyed very much the contest and I want to do it again in the next one.”

Ramizi Boukiam (MAR) looked sharp throughout the contest with his lightening fast surfing and an ability to read the waves well above his age. Being in his first final and having a slow start the young goofy footer has come from the event gaining valuable finals experience.

“I am pretty stoked at the moment because this is my first pro junior final and the best I have done is a semi so this is the best result so far in my career. It was hard to get into the final up against guys like Charly and right at the start of the heat he gets two bombs and after that it was tough. He deserves his win because he is surfing really well here.”

“Before this final I was ninth on the ratings so with this finish I want to move up the list and maybe finish in the top 5 at the end of the series in August.”

Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 20, claimed the Nikita Girls Pro Junior Sopelana with a complete display of dominance from round one to the final where she left her opponents in a combination situation with a two wave total of 17.27 out of a possible 20. As evidence Arnaud claimed 8 of the 10 highest single scoring rides in the Nikita Girls Pro Junior Sopelana. Smashing a series of forehand cracks to obtain a near perfect 9.77 out of a possible 10 the quietly spoken natural-footer entered the water with her strategy of attack which ran to perfection.

“I knew with the tide that things could change so I took two waves at the beginning to try and take the lead and get started because after it was a little smaller. I want to be as high as I can on the ratings heading into Lacanau to be in the top two is great and it has given me confidence to try and win the European Junior title like two years ago.”

Maud Lecar (FRA) 18, finished runner up in her first ever ASP Pro Junior final ahead of current European Junior title holder Joanne Defay (FRA) and Marie Dejean (FRA) who placed fourth.

“It’s my first time in a pro junior final and I am very happy to get second place and to try and stay in the top 5 in Europe. Alizee is surfing so good and in the final she got that 9 point ride and she is surfing very strong so I was left fighting for second place against Joanne and we had a good fight for the second place.”

Medi Vemenardi (REU) and Alizee Arnaud (FRA) shared the added bonus of 1000 Euros for being overall best performers at the ASP sanctioned San Sebastian and Sopelana Pro Juniors proudly sponsored by Surfing Euskadi.

“It is a great surprise to receive this prize,” said Alizee Arnaud. “It was great to come to these two events in Euskadi and I will come back next time for sure and see all the people here and do my best to win again.”

Focused on the development of Euskadi as a premiere surf destination for the world's best surfers, Surfing Euskadi works closely with the surfing industry to promote the sport and support the improvement of its most promising talented athletes.

Heat 1: Charles Martin (GLP) 17.33, Filipe Jervis (PRT) 13.50, William Aliotti (FRA) 10.97, Ramizi Boukiam (MAR) 10.93

Heat 1: Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 17.27, Maud Lecar (FRA) 11.60, Joanne Defay (FRA) 10.60, Marie Dejean (FRA) 7.56