Sixteen-year-old Mikey McDonagh from Lennox Head is representing the northern rivers region at the 2017 Jeep World Junior Championships currently underway.
The event features the top 36 male surfers and 18 female surfers from the seven global WSL regions of Australia/Oceania, Africa, Hawaii/Tahiti Nui, Europe, Asia, North America and South America.
McDonagh got off to a solid start with a runner-up finish in Round One before turning the heat up in Round Two with a powerful win against fellow Australian and close friend Lucas Wrice.
There had been some delays and a lay day owing to the small waves on offer at Kiama’s Bombo Beach.
McDonagh earned his spot in the event and an opportunity to represent his surfing at the highest by finishing runner-up in the Australia/Oceania region and has drawn another Australian (Liam O’Brien) for his Round Three clash.
The event is a revealing look into the future of professional surfing as last year’s finalists, winner Ethan Ewing from Australia and runner-up Griffin Colapinto, have already reached the Championship Tour level while still in their teens.
The women’s champion Macy Callaghan from Australia missed Championship Tour qualification by one spot and is the first reserve in case someone is injured.
This annual gathering of 18 and under talent provides competitors an opportunity to square off against their global counterparts, while vying for a fast-track to the Qualifying Series via a guaranteed entry into the QS 10,000 and QS 6,000 events and a highly visible position in the shop window of sponsors worldwide.
Also worthy of mention at the World Junior Champs is the attention it draws from many of surfing’s most powerful inside players, including a mix of elite coaches and brand marketers eager to showcase their young stars on an international stage.
A quick walk along the beach revealed the likes of Luke Egan, Rainos Hayes, Peter Mel and coach Herdy to list a few, all imparting their wisdom upon the maturing minds under their watchful eyes.
The Australian surfers have their work cut out for them to emulate the amazing performances from Ewing and Callaghan last year.
McDonagh is only 16 and will get another chance to represent his country at next year’s World Junior Championship if he doesn’t find success this time round.