Barger Takes Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge U.S. Qualifier
Kai Barger claimed the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge U.S. Qualifier in an amazing display of progressive surfing alongside fellow finalists Davey Cathels (North Narrabeen, AUS), 18, who finished second, Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 18, and Hawaiian charger Kiron Jabour (Haleiwa, HI), 18, with an amazing two-wave-score of 18.60 out of 20. Each surfer went wave-for-wave, unleashing massive fins-free turns and huge air reverses, but in the end, Barger’s performance would go unmatched.
“Man, that Final was epic, it glassed off out there and the sets just started pumping,” Barger said. “I finally got my chance to get a nice open face right and just tee off, which is what I’ve been waiting to do this whole time, so I’m just super stoked.”
The Oakley Pro Junior victory at Lower Trestles was the first event victory for Barger since his win at the ASP World Junior Championships in Narrabeen, Australia in January, and the result came as a relief to the progressive goofy-footer.
“I’m so stoked because I felt like people would be wondering if I didn’t back up my win from Worlds with another result,” Barger said. “This is a solid result for me and it’s good.”
Cathels came from behind to bump Perillo down to the third place position with a last-second effort on a long righthand Lowers wall. The young Australian combined a variety of vicious turns and finished the wave off with a solid reverse to take second overall in the event.
“The waves are so fun out there, it’s just perfect little Trestles,” Cathels said. “The wave is just so rippable. Everone was getting great waves and Kai was just ripping out there. So what can you do, he’s the ASP World Junior Champion for a reason. To get that second, I’m just frothing, that’s what I came here to do.”
Cathels, who entered the contest after just missing qualifying for the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge in Australia with a third-place finish, traveled to the states specifically to garner that lucrative qualification. His first trip to the U.S. resulted in just that, and he definitely hopes to come back to compete at Trestles again in the future.
“This is my first time to America and my first time to Trestles about a week ago,” Cathels said. “I just fell in love with this wave. It just turned on for us in the Final. It was so good and I’d love to come back.”
Both Barger and Cathels also qualified for the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge in Bali in October.
“Qualifying for Bali is what I’m most stoked about,” Barger said before heading up to the podium. “That’s the best event on the planet. I’m so stoked. I can’t believe I’m going back!”