Kai Barger

Maui’s Kai Barger, 18, of Haiku, scored the first major ASP Pro Junior victory of his career at Waikiki Beach today in the $5,000 Macy’s E-Series Pro Junior presented by ASP Hawaii.

Against an all-star lineup of Hawaii’s hottest juniors, Barger surfed through five rounds to take the honors, winning $2,000 and accounting for top names the likes of Clay Marzo (Maui), Casey Brown (Big Island), and Ha’a Aikau (Oahu) along the way.

Second place today was Sebastian Zietz (Kilauea, Kauai), 20 third was 15-year-old Keanu Asing (Ewa, Oahu) and fourth was Albee Layer (Haiku, Maui).

Surf for this one-day event was highly contestable in the two-to-three foot (1.5 metre) range. However, the afternoon’s high tide brought with it inconsistent conditions that emphasized the importance of a solid start to the 30-minute final. Just 13 waves total were ridden during the final heat all but one were posted in the first 15 minutes before the high tide slowed conditions to a virtual standstill.

With so little surf on offer for the all-important heat of the day and with the carbon copy wave nature of the Queen’s surf break, the playing field was so level and the calibre of surfers so close that the win came down to a countback between Barger and Zietz. In the end, Barger won with 12.5 points out of 20 (individiual wave scores of 7.25 and 5.25) to Zietz’s 11.9 (7.5 and 4.4).

The critical edge turned out to be Barger’s more vertical backhand attack over that of his three regular-footed rivals.

"The thought of winning a pro junior for me was a dream," said Barger. "I’ve never made a pro junior final. I’ve watched all my friends win, and finally... I’ve been hurting for one. I think I might have had the slight advantage being backside. When it’s so small, you can kind of just throw it up there and it might look a little better to the judges. I was surprized, actually. I thought I didn’t win."

The Macy’s E-Series Pro Junior is one of three ASP Pro Junior events to be held in Hawaii this year and is a qualifier for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships in Australia in January of 2009.

The Macy’s E-Series Pro Junior was the third and final event of the 2008 Macy’s E-Series, staged this summer. The first two events were ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS)1-Star events as part of the ASP World Tour.

ASP Hawaii and Macy’s collaborated to produce the Macy’s E-Series, giving Hawaii’s pro surfing community a much needed opportunity to win valuable ASP ratings points and prize money at home breaks.

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