Surf series begins on the Goldy

Junior Byron Bay surfer Soli Bailey laying down a solid turn in the powerful surf at Hawaii’s Sunset Beach. Photo: Tyler Rock/Freesurf Magazine.

Junior Byron Bay junior surfer Soli Bailey. Photo: Tyler Rock/Freesurf Magazine.

Australian and international elite junior surfers will converge on the Gold Coast on January 19 and 20 for the first of seven qualifying Subway Surf Series Pro Junior events, sanctioned by the World Surf League (WSL).

Seven different nations including France, Indonesia, New Zealand and Japan will be represented over the two days of competition, with 64 males and 24 females participating in the competition.

2012 WSL Men’s World Champion and Surf Series ambassador Joel Parkinson will be part of the action next week, and highlighted the importance of the event series. ‘I’m thrilled to be part of the very first Surf Series Pro Junior event,’ he said. ‘Having the WSL on board will help to launch the careers of our best and brightest surfing talent who I’m sure will be dominating the international competition.’

That talent includes current Under 18 Australian Champion Kai Warner, and other big names such as Ethan Ewing, Quinn Bruce, Macy Callaghan, Lucy Callister, Alyssa Lock and Pacha Light, who will all don a competition rash vest.

WSL is equally pleased with the bolstered junior event series. ‘It’s great to have WSL and Surfing Australia work together with Subway to form the world’s most comprehensive junior surfing series,’ said WSL Australasia tour manager Will Hayden-Smith. ‘Then to have the support and backing from 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson is a great endorsement for these events and I know the junior surfers will be excited to meet and learn from one of their surfing heroes.’

Fourteen-year-old local Billabong athlete Pacha Light said she was looking forward to the challenge of competing against the best juniors on home turf, nearly all of whom will be several years older than her, as she is competing in the 18-and-under women’s division.

‘I love surfing Duranbah and all the Gold Coast breaks so hopefully that little bit of local knowledge helps in the competition,’ said Pacha. ‘It is my first Pro Junior and to be surfing against the older girls who absolutely shred will be a great experience.’

Bolstering an already impressive draw, there will be four wildcard entries including Victorian WSL Wildcard Joe Van Dijk and Laura Poncini who will be deployed in round one as added event heavyweights.

Subway marketing manager Lara Corbiere was delighted to continue to support junior surfing in its new-look competition.

The WSL sanctioned Pro Junior events, which includes 18-and-under men’s and women’s divisions, form part of the 2016 WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), providing the winning athletes with an opportunity to win a coveted world title, at the WSL World Junior Championships in early 2017.

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