Quarterfinalists Decided For Oakley Pro Junior ASP North American Championships
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-3 Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships, which runs in conjunction with the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, moved through Rounds 1 and 2 today in testing two-foot waves at the backup site of Waddell Creek in Santa Cruz, California, deciding the event’s Quarterfinalists.
The Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships’ ASP Grade-3 status plays a crucial role in all surfers’ quests towards qualification for the ASP World Junior Championships held in Narrabeen, Australia each January, with all top campaigners looking to compile their best four results on the regional series to finish within the top three on the ratings to qualify for the prestigious event.
Oakley’s Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 18, who claimed the Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships in 2007 and the O’Neill Cold Water Classic in 2008, utilized precision backhand surfing on two Waddell Creek right-handers to advance though to the Quarterfinals after suffering a disappointing early round loss in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California yesterday.
“It was a good heat for me,” Young said. “I didn’t think my first wave was that good. I was able to get a six and a seven right away and that allowed me to relax a little. I felt in rhythm in that heat and my board was working really well.”
The local goofy-footer is currently sitting in the No. 2 position on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings and is out to overtake current ratings leader Dillon Perillo (Malibu, CA), 19, in front of his home crowd at the last event on the 2009 calendar.
“I want to do well here,” Young said. “To win this event would be great and I could still take the regional pro junior title if I do well enough. I won this event two years ago and then I won the ‘QS last year, so although I lost in the ‘QS, it’d be nice to win this event again.”
Perillo, who has been a finalist in each ASP North America Pro Junior Series event that he’s entered this year, has dominated the regional circuit throughout the year, but has recently suffered an ankle injury which is hindering his performance at the Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships.
“In the beginning of the heat I couldn’t even hit the whitewash,” Perillo said. “I was pretty much balancing off of my front foot the whole time. My leg is shaky. It doesn’t hurt that bad anymore, it’s just weak and awkward.”
Despite the injury, Perillo displayed poise in his heat and was able to secure a spot in the Quarterfinals with a last minute seven-point ride in his Round of 32 heat. He is out to post another solid result at the critical event despite the wounded ankle.
“I’ve got to get it all back,” said Perillo. “It just takes awhile. I need the points though. I missed the other Grade-3, so I need to get a result in Santa Cruz.”
Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA), 19, who is the defending ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion, is another competitor who is out to post a top result to secure his position for the ASP World Junior Championships in Narrabeen, Australia this January.
“I’m in one of the top transfer spots for Worlds and I want to do well here,” Arrambide said. “I’ve been working hard for this event, so hopefully the waves will get better and we’ll end up back at the Lane.”
Alejo Muniz (Santa Catarina, BRA), 20, who has been a standout in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, smashed the days highest heat total of a 15.27 out of 20 and felt at home in the beachbreak conditions of Waddell Creek.”
“I’m really stoked,” Muniz said. “My boards feel real good and the waves remind me of my home break. So I feel comfortable out here at the beachbreak. Hopefully I can make more heats and head back to Steamer Lane.”
The Brazilian talent is hoping to keep his momentum alive by competing in both the Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships and the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California and feels surfing as many heats as possible keeps him in contest mode.
“It’s great to surf in this event because I’m still competing while the other guys on the ‘QS aren’t surfing heats today,” Muniz said. “Surfing in both the junior and the ‘QS is great because it keeps me in the contest frame of mind.”
Event organizers will reconvene at 7 am local time at Steamer Lane to make a call on the day’s schedule. For all of the LIVE O’Neill Cold Water Classic California and Oakley Pro Junior ASP North America Championships action log on to www.oneill.com/cwc/california. For additional Oakley Pro Junior information check out www.oakleyprojunior.com