Early Rounds See Kiwi Success at World Junior Championship in Japan
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 September, 2017 - The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team has progressed over half of their members through the qualifying rounds after two days of competition at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championship currently taking place in Japan.
Seven surfers remain in the qualifying rounds including all four female members. The event is taking place from 23rd September – 1st October and is playing host to 41 countries.
The boys divisions were contested on the first day of the event with good performances seeing four team members win their heats. The winners were led by Mount Maunganui’s Kehu Butler with a 15.66 point heat total out of a possible 20.
Team members in the Under 16 Boys Division also stepped up, themselves producing rides in excess of seven points. They included Dylan Preston (Mnt), Caleb Cutmore (Ham) and Kaya Horne (Gold Coast).
In their second round match ups late on day two, it was the experience of Mount Maunganui duo Butler and Jonas Tawharu that saw them advance through to the third round while their fellow team members were eliminated to the repechage rounds.
Both Butler and Tawharu won their heats with scores of 14.60 and 12.83 respectively.
“I had a local Japanese surfer in my heat who knew the banks really well but I got a good right hander that grew and it was nice and steep so I surfed it my best on my backhand to take the early lead then backed it up with another right” said Tawharu post heat.
“I'm feeling really confident in the small waves especially on my backhand and the whole team is ripping with a lot of kids still in the main round. Kehu and I have a break tomorrow and then back on for Qualifying Round 3 the following day” he added.
Team mates Elliott Brown (Dun) in the Under 18s as well as Dylan Preston (Mnt), Caleb Cutmore (Ham) and Kaya Horne (Gold Coast) in he Under 16s were relegated to the repechage rounds after placing third in their heats to some strong competition from the major nations.
Earlier in the day the girls divisions got action underway. Raiha Ensor (Mnt) came from behind in the second half of her heat to post a 12.73 point heat total and advance while Saffi Vette (Gis) advanced in first place with an 11.96 point heat total.
Both Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and Tegen Bishop (Chch) placed second in their respective heats to advance. Those relegated to the repechage rounds today will join Jared Gebert (Ohope) who was pipped in the final two minutes and finished third in his heat on day one.
William Van Der Beek (Mnt) had the day off but will be back in action first thing on Tuesday morning. The swell is forecast to build on day three and for the following two days however the onshore wind is also predicted to accompany the building swell.
Day 4 schedule
11:50am – Under 16 Boys Qualifying Round 2, Heat 15 – William Van Der Beek (Mnt)
1:30pm – Under 18 Girls Qualifying Round 2, Heat 4 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2:10pm – Under 18 Girls Qualifying Round 2, Heat 6 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
4:10pm – Under 16 Girls Qualifying Round 2, Heat 4 – Tegen Bishop (Chch)
4:50pm – Under 16 Girls Qualifying Round 2, Heat 6 – Saffi Vette (Gis)