The Oakley World Pro Junior Bali returned to Keramas for Day 4 of competition. The 3 – 4 foot surf was crisp, clean and the ideal canvass for the world’s best junior surfers to display their full repertoire with tubes, walls and air sections on offer.
Garrett Parkes (AUS) won an early morning all Australian battle against Oakley’s Matt Banting (AUS) thanks to a couple of clean tube rides and fin throws. Banting put up a strong fight, but Parkes put his experience to good use selecting the best waves of the heat to advance through to the next round.
“It doesn’t feel like an international competition yet, I’ve only surfed against Aussies,” Parkes said. “It’s a bit of a bummer that we came up against each other, but that’s competing. We just tried to go out there and have a good heat. I was kind of freaking at the end, he only needed a 7 [out of a possible 10] when a nice wave came through. He didn’t catch it, which was lucky because he could have gotten the score on that for sure.”
Brazilian Ian Gouveia also had to battle one of his fellow countrymen, Gustavo Machado. Both surfers struggled to find the best take off position, but Gouveia claimed the heat after scoring a deep barrel and muscling his way through after thewave closed out.
“The waves were pretty slow and it was hard to find a good one,” Gouveia said. “The sets were fun though, this is my first time to Bali and I’m loving it.”
Medi Veminardi from Reunion Island bounced back from his Round 1 loss yesterday where he suffered the biggest wipeout of the day, going over the falls on a solid 6-foot wave. Veminardi scored a nice tube ride to advance to Round 3,sending South African Slade Prestwich home with an equal 33rd place finish.
“It’s very difficult on your backhand out there,” Veminardi said. “Normally I surf good on my backhand, but I’m not here. A lot of the goofy footers are struggling out here, like how we saw Nat Young (USA) lose yesterday. This wave, with this swell direction means you just need to race on your backside.”
Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) is quickly establishing himself as a darkhorse at this year’s Oakley World Pro Junior. A few minutes into his Round 2 heat, Hendrickson threw himself at a huge ramp, launched into a big air-reverse, landed clean and was awarded a 7.67.
“I knew it was a good wave so I just went for it,” Hendrickson said. “I saw that section and it was steep and perfect for an air, I’m stoked I made it. I was just having fun and free-surfing by the end of the heat, but I went for an air on a stupid section right at the end and I think I might have broken my toe, it hurts so bad.”
Oakley’s own Thomas Woods (AUS) was tied with fellow Oakley teammate Keala Naihe (HAW) with a minute and a half to go. Woods showed his competitive nerves of steel taking off in the last minute to attack the lip, pull into a little tube and finish with a closeout re-entry to rocket himself to 1st place. Had the heat finished in a tie, Naihe would have taken the win as he had a higher single wave score in his tally, but Woods didn’t let it come down to that.
“I was so nervous when he got the 7.5 he needed,” Woods said. “I was like this can’t be happening. Then there was 30 seconds to go, I had priority and I saw a little runner. I did my best and even put out a claim. You feel like a kook doing a claim, but you gotta do it when stuff like that happens.”
Kaishu Tanaka (JPN) was the standout performer of the day, unleashing power turns in the steep pocket of the wave. Tanaka scored two excellent rides an 8.00 and a 7.67 in the opening minutes of the heat, leaving Brazilian Joao Abreu (BRA)chasing scores that never eventuated.
Fellow Japanese surfer Arashi Kato closed out the day with another heat win for the Oakley team against Chase Wilson (USA). The contest the went directly into heat one of the men’s third round only to get called for the day when neither Davey Cathels (AUS) nor Michael February (ZAF) had caught a wave 10 minutes into the heat.
The contest will resume tomorrow, October 6, at Keramas with a 5:30 am call giving Cathels and February a second take on their Roudn 3 heat.
The Oakley World Pro Junior Bali runs from October 3 – 14. Check out www.oakleyprojunior.com