Coco Ho: what a great year, surfer girl

Coco Ho (North Shore,HI), 19, won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-4 Supergirl Pro Junior with a come-from-behind win over fellow finalists Malia Manuel (Kauai, HI), 16, Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara, CA), 15, and Leila Hurst (Kauai, HI) 16, at South Oceanside Pier to take out the richest prize purse in Women’s ASP Pro Junior surfing history.

Surfers competing on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series are out to finish atop their regional ratings to qualify for the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour. Once qualified, they earn the right to battle the globe’s finest competitive 20-and-under talent for the title of ASP World Junior Champion.

Ho got off to a slow start in the Final matchup, but battled through the small conditions to surpass Manuel in the back half of the heat to take out the Supergirl Pro Junior victory and $10,000, the richest 1st place prize purse in women’s ASP Pro Junior surfing history.

“I’m beyond ecstatic,” Ho said. “To surf a few heats and win $10,000 is amazing and I’m heading to Mexico tonight with my best friends so it’s been a great day.”

The impressive win earned by Ho plants her atop the ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings, but due to her commitments on the ASP Women’s World Tour, the talented Hawaiian may not be able to represent her region on this year’s ASP World Junior Tour.

“It feels great to be on top of the junior ratings,” Ho said. “I don’t think I’ll be able to go to Bali because of the Women’s Tour overlapping, but I’m sure Malia (Manuel) or Leila (Hurst) will do a great job of representing Hawaii.”

Manuel, who smashed some of the event’s highest scores, launched out to a strong start in the Final, but was unable to stop Ho. The second place finish solidifies the young Hawaiian in the No. 2 position on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings, allowing her to represent Hawaii at the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour.

“This Final was amazing and congratulations to Coco (Ho),” Manuel said. “I think this result qualifies me for the World Junior Championships in Bali and I’m really looking forward to that.”

Peterson, who was a standout at this year’s ASP 6-Star US Open of Surfing, started strong in her early heats, but was unable to find a rhythm in the Final and finished third overall.

“I’m not disappointed in the result at all,” Peterson said. “It was a tough heat and I think I just need to get more experience. I feel like I’ve had a good go on the Pro Junior series this year though. It was my first year competing and it’s been good.”

The Santa Barbara native’s result at the ASP Grade-4 event pushes Peterson to No. 3 on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, making her the highest rated North American surfer on the regional ratings, qualifying her for this year’s ASP World Junior Tour.

“I’d be really excited to go to Bali,” Peterson said. “I’m really looking forward to doing the ASP Pro Junior series for a few more years and I’m looking forward to it.”

Supergirl Pro Junior Final Results:
1 – Coco Ho (HAW)
2 – Malia Manuel (HAW)
3 – Lakey Peterson (USA)
4 – Leila Hurst (HAW)

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