MANU BAY, Raglan/New Zealand (Thursday, May 13, 2010) – The famed left-hand point break of Manu Bay at Raglan on New Zealand’s north island delivered great conditions for day one of the Association of Surfing Professionals Billabong Pro Junior and the top seeded Pro Junior Men’s division thrived in the semi-clean 1.5m (4 feet) surf.
Despite the good conditions a number of highly rated top seeds were surprise eliminations including the number one seed and current leader on the prestigious ASP Australasian Junior Series Mitch Crews (AUS/Currumbin/Qld).
Crews arrived at this event in a medical ankle brace and is struggling to recover from an injury sustained in a basketball game a month ago – he was vulnerable on his backhand in these waves going down to a red hot in-form Perth Standlick (AUS/NSW/Bondi) and Tim McDonald (AUS/Qld/Stradbroke Island).
Crews is aiming to win this season’s Pro Junior Series and will be hoping his injury recovers fully in the coming 2 weeks before the next event on the series in West Australia.
“I have a bruise in the ankle joint and in hind-sight I probably should not have surfed here but I’ve had such a strong start to the season I was hoping to keep the roll going – I scored one very good 7.5 ride out there but couldn’t back it up with a decent second score – that’s surfing, I’ll be back stronger than ever for the next event” said Crews after the heat.
The other surprise elimination of the morning was Garrett Parkes (AUS/NSW/Byron Bay) who went down to talented local New Zealand surfer Alex Dive.
Parkes is aiming to qualify for the ASP World Junior Championships which requires a top four season end rating on this circuit.
Parkes came into this event in 12th place and today’s result is a serious blow to the talented young Byron Bay surfer.
Early standouts were local surfers Alex Dive (NZ/Mt Maunganui) and Buck Woods (NZ/Gisborne) who both made the most of this opportunity to take on Australasia’s best pro juniors in their home waters by easily winning their round two heats.
“I surf against the Australian’s in Australia quite often and to have them here in my familiar waters is a good change – I know the wave here at Raglan really well which definitely gives me an advantage,” said Dive after his big scoring heat win which included an excellent 8 point ride.
“I’m confident I can go a lot further in this event particularly if the waves stay solid,” added 18 year old Dive.
Buck Woods scored the day’s highest heat scoring tally of 14.75 for his top two scoring rides of an 8 and a 6.75 in his impressive win eliminating Australian’s Sam Lendrum and Bart Smith (both NSW).
Woods, also 18 years of age, is keen to get a solid result here to ensure a good seeding for next year’s Pro Junior season.
“Next year is my final season on the Pro Junior circuit and I’m intending to really focus on a top season – If I can build my rating this year and go into next year with a good seeding that will help heaps so a good result here is important – that was a great start for me but there’s plenty of heats to go and I’ll just focus on my next heat,” said Woods.
The Monster highest scoring ride of the day went to Perth Standlick (AUS/Bondi) who scored an 8.5 on one of the day’s larger waves which allowed him to power through a series of critical backhand bottom-to-top turn combinations.
“I’ve been here a few days and really scored great waves pre event so I feel I know the wave quite well and I’m looking for a strong result,” said Standlick.
My aim all season has been to qualify for the ASP World Championship events and I’m in the mix to qualify so it’s really an important event for me – we have three more events on the circuit after this one so every heat is a big one.”
Conditions are expected to remain good throughout this event which is expected to finish on Sunday.
The low tide saw contest organizers call off today’s event after 9 heats of round two were completed.
Heats 10 to 16 of the Pro Junior Men’s round two and round one of the Pro Junior Women’s are expected to run tomorrow with starting time around 8:00am.
The event can be followed live via www.aspaustralasia.com/live/2010/raglan/live.php