Balinese Bless the World's Best Junior Surfers on Day 1 of Oakley World Pro Junior

Oakley Pro Jr. Championship

The Balinese people believe that the ocean is home to the spirits of their ancestors. It’s the place where ashes of the deceased are spread, forever linking the people with the body of water. It’s for that reason, on a cloudy morning on Echo Beach in Canggu that the Pemangku, or Chief of the Ceremony, asked that the spirits welcome the world’s best junior surfers into their sacred waters for the Oakley World Pro Junior.

Wearing Kabayas and Kamens, the white garb worn for Balinese religious ceremonies, the 66 men and women who’ve flown in from around the world to fight for the prestigious ASP World Junior Champion titles sat quietly as the Pemangku led the proceedings. He rang a bell to begin the ceremony and sprinkled blessed water on the athletes; incense burned and flower petals were distributed to each athlete and judge, representing the harmonization between competition and nature.

The blessing not only succeeded in protecting competitors throughout the day’s proceedings, it also seemed to summon the swell at Canggu as the low-tide closeouts turned into long, rippable walls which some compared to Rocky Point in Hawaii and Lower Trestles in Southern California.

“There’s a wave every 10 seconds,” said Koa Smith, who advanced through his Round 1 heat. “It’s like a wave machine or a wave pool out there.”

Over the course of the 11-day contest window, the under-21 junior athletes will certainly be focused on the challenge of claiming the career-changing title, but also will try to experience and embrace as much of the beautiful Balinese culture as possible.

On Day 1 of the event, the entire first round of the men’s draw was run in the 3- to 5-foot right-hand waves at Canggu. At event’s end, for the first time, the Men’s ASP World Junior Champion will be crowned in Indonesia.

Peterson Crisanto (BRA) put on a dominating performance in his opening heat against last year’s runner-up, Andrew Doheny (USA), and fellow Brazilian Geovane Ferreira. Crisanto’s wave selection and execution were perfect, showing off his complete aerial and repertoire to score a near-perfect two-wave heat total of 19.00 (out of a possible 20).

“It’s a good start for me,” Crisanto said. "The start of the heat was slow, but then I did an air and the judges gave me a 9.33. I tried to keep busy and caught a wave in the last minute of the heat to get another 9.”

“I don’t know why, but I was nervous before,” continued Crisanto. “I am pretty stoked to be through to Round 3. Canggu is like my home break, it’s pretty much my favorite place to surf in the world."

Connor Coffin (USA) overcame a slow start to his Round 1 battle against Deivid Silva (BRA) and Taylor Clark (USA), who finished second and third, respectively. Coffin went to work in the second half of the heat using his stylish flow and powerful turns to move into the lead and advance directly to Round 3.

“I had a bad start to that heat so it feels good to come away with the win,” said Coffin, who is traveling through Bali with his family and coach, Brad Gerlach. “This is probably my favorite contest all year. I’ve been coming here for three years and I just love Bali, the waves, the people – it’s just an awesome place.”

For the complete Day 1 results and On-Demand replays, go to oakleyprojunior.com.