Nikki Van Dijk Wins Women's Oakley World Pro Junior, Crowned ASP World Junior Champ
At first light, Keramas essentially did the job of the contest director and made the call: the women’s Final of the Oakley World Pro Junior would run. With well-overhead, glassy barrels peeling down the reef, it was the ideal stage for determining the best women’s junior surfer in the world.
Nikki Van Dijk and Bianca Buitendag likely approached the waterline with thoughts of both glory and terror. Find the right one, claim the biggest title in junior surfing. Pick the wrong one: say hello to the reef.
Both ladies wasted little time showing that they wouldn’t be intimidated. Buitendag, the 17-year-old South African, found the first bomb, but struggled with the speed on her backhand. Van Dijk, the 18-year-old Aussie, had similar early problems as well. But as the heat progressed, Van Dijk learned to harness the extra power. She was taking off deep and generating huge amounts of speed from her bottom turns to accelerate into her powerful carves. Van Dijk led for the entirely of the event and finished with a two-wave score of 13.24 to Buitendag’s 8.93, claiming her first ASP World Junior title.
“I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt!” Van Dijk said. “I was nervous the whole heat! I was shaky when I was trying to stand up, I think I was just so excited to be out there in such perfect waves. I’m so honored to win. This is what I dream of. To be here with my sister and friends is amazing. I know all my family and friends at home will be so excited!”
Already an historic event for being the first ever to crown an ASP World Champion in Indonesia, it will also go down as one of the greatest finals because of the quality of waves on offer. And Van Dijk and Buitendag were deserving finalists to get the epic conditions to themselves. Between the two of them they scored six of the top 10 highest wave scores of the women’s event.
Buitendag was a standout surfer throughout the event, using her powerful backhand approach to storm through the draw. In the Final, however, she wasn’t able to execute quite as effectively. Buitendag will join next year’s top 17 on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour.
“I’m really happy with second. I came here with no expectations and to finish like this has been great,” Buitendag said. “I just want to thank Oakley for putting this event on, and God for giving us great surf. Nikki (Van Dijk) surfed really well, I’m very happy for her. This event has been a great warm-up for me to get ready to surf on next year’s ASP Women’s World Championship Tour.”