Oakley Junior Challenge 2005

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The second annual Oakley surf event, OAKLEY JUNIOR CHALLENGE 2005, was held in the state of Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil. The event was for athletes under the age of 20, in both men’s and women’s categories.

The format of the event was not the normal run of the mill contest format. Heats were of one hour duration, with the athlete being able to ride 15 waves with the three highest scores counting, including one doubled score of the athlete’s choice. All athletes compete in 4 heats at four different surf breaks and the winner is the surfer who has the most cumulated points after all four heats.

In this year’s event the 5-day time limit was raised to 7 days, from which 4 days were needed to complete the championship; a women’s surfing category was added; and international athletes were invited to participate. The cities chosen for the event were: Florianópolis, Garopaba and Imbituba. All cities are famous for good quality waves, beautiful beaches and beautiful women.

With the arrival of a big swell delivering good waves, the event started right on the first day of the waiting period, at Joaquina in Florianópolis. The 8 foot waves on Joaquina’s left hander allowed a phenomenal display of surfing by the athletes. Jean da Silva scored a 10 for a long barrel ride, but Hizunome Bettero got the best combined score of the day getting a head start! In the women’s category, Leilani Gryde from Hawaii had the top-score for the day with some great front side surfing.

On the second day, the event continued at the same beach but the swell dropped to between 6 -7 feet, but with better shaped waves, consequently the combined scores were higher. Athletes like Adriano de Souza and Leandro Bastos improved their scores and took over the lead, with Leandro in first place and Adriano in second. Leilane held firmly to her lead in the women’s division.

The third day there was a change in wind direction, so the event was moved to the south end of the island, on the beach of Matadeiro. With 5 to 6 feet waves that allowed space for maneuvers while forming barrels, we sounded the horn. On this day, two surfers stood out, Patrick Tambay from Fernando de Noronha with some excellent rides getting the highest score, and Adriano de Souza who ended up with the highest combined score. The day ended with Leandro Bastos still in first place. In the women’s category, Tais de Almeida started catching up and surfing strong closed in on the leaders, but Claudia Gonçalves was also landing some excellent rides, so both together with Leilani were practically tied on the last day.

Wednesday, the last day of the event, the south wind made the beach of Vila, in Imbituba the best option. That is where, with 5 to 6 feet waves, this year’s champions in both categories were revealed. In the men’s category, Hizunome Bettero, riding waves quickly and strongly took home the title, but the man of the day was Tiago Bianchini, who really blew everyone away going from tenth to fifth place in the final ranking. In the women’s category, Tais crushed all competitors’ hopes with great waves, including a unanimous 10, and won the event.