Mikey McDonagh from Lennox Head was runner-up at the 2018 Port Stephens Toyota Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event at Birubi Beach in fun, clean 0.7-metre waves.
It was a battle of the youngsters as eventual winner Caleb Tancred came up against fellow teenager and lifelong rival, McDonagh, in the final.
McDonagh and Tancred have competed against each other since they were seven-year-olds so this heat was nothing new, except it was the first QS final for both of them.
For McDonagh, winning two-from-two Pro Junior finals in recent years meant he had a 100 per cent success rate coming into the matchup.
He looked destined to end up on the podium as he consistently posted solid heat wins during the event.
Unfortunately for the Lennox Head native, he came short in the final, but leaves Birubi with one of the best results of his career.
‘We’re childhood rivals and best friends so it’s definitely weird to share a QS final with Caleb,’ McDonagh said. ‘Getting a runner-up usually stings but this isn’t stinging at all. Getting second here is a huge confidence boost heading into 2019. I had to surf five times today and I adopted the mindset that every heat was a bonus. I’m in a bit of shock, to be honest.’
Although highly ranked on the pro-junior circuit Mikey was only lowly ranked on the open-age QS ratings. But with this result he has jumped up 143 spots to now sit in 271st position.