OAKLEY PRO JUNIOR GLOBAL CHALLENGE JAPAN QUALIFIER COMPLETES ROUNDS OF 48 AND 32 ON DAY 1
(San Juan Capistrano, Calif., Aug. 7, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-1 Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Japan Qualifier completed the Rounds of 48 and 32 at Tsurigasaki Beach, Ichinomiya, Chiba, Japan today. The event drew top local and international talent to vie for the $5,000 prize purse and qualification into the world renowned Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final in Bali in October, the richest Pro Junior in the world.
A strong offshore two-three foot Southwest swell hit Tsurigasaki Beach during Heats 1 to 8 of the Pro Junior to get competition underway. Chris Friend (AUS) scored a high mark out of the gates in Heat 1 exhibiting the high level of talent to come. In Heat 2, American Dillon Perillo (USA), who is hot on the trail of an Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final qualification, advanced to the next round with his speedy pivot style. In Heat 7, Dai Wako, who recently came back from Australia, made it to the next round with a combined two-wave score of 13.00 (out of a possible 20).
Waves turned into waist-high to belly-high when the spring tide ebbed around noon. In that difficult condition, the Cadet class (U-16) took place in which aspiring top junior surfers competed. In the Round of 48 of Cadet, a young surfer, who debuted this year, appeared and pumped up the event showing his potential. The Round of 32 of Cadet finished while waiting for flow of the tide, then the Round of 32 Pro Junior began.
In Heat 1 of the Pro Junior Round of 32, Chris Friend (AUS) became the first to advance to tomorrow’s Quarterfinal with his sharp performance. Japanese top seed surfers also made their first appearance in the Round of 32. Ohashi Kaito (JPN), who finished equal ninth in the inaugural Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final last year, completed a solid 360 in Heat 3 securing a place in the Quarterfinal.
In Heat 5, local surfer Takahashi Kento (JPN) made a perfect grab-rail air attracting many local fans and qualifying for tomorrow’s Quarterfinal. In Heat 7, a local hero Arashi Kato(JPN) made it to the Quarterfinal easily over Dai Wako (JPN) and Kouki Kurokoshi (JPN), who had proceeded from the Round of 48, showing his tactics. In Heat 8, last year’s junior World Qualifying Series (WQS) seed surfer Matsuoka Keito (JPN), who also competed in last year’s Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final and finished equal ninth, earned a spot in the Quarterfinals capitalizing on his overseas experience.
The Pro Junior and Cadet Quarterfinals will begin tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. and run through the Finals.
OAKLEY PRO JUNIOR U-21 Quarterfinal Heat Draw
1. Chris Friend(AUS), Nahana Takuya(JPN), Terashima Mao(JPN), Dillon Perillo(USA)
2. Ohashi Kaito(JPN),Nakamura Takumi(JPN),Kino,Kaito(JPN), Nakamura Koki(JPN)
3. Mitch Crews (AUS),Takahashi, Kento (JPN),Arai Hiroto (JPN), Takahashi Sho (JPN)
4. Kato Arashi(JPN), Takahashi, Yuto(JPN), Matsuoka Keito(JPN), Kume Yuhei(JPN)
With four countries down and only two qualifying events remaining, Japan is one of only two qualifiers left which will determine who will advance to the Oakly Pro Junior Global Challenge Final in Bali, Indonesia, October 7-17 where the world’s best juniors will compete for $75,000—the richest prize purse awarded at a junior event. The final qualifier, the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior France, hits Grand Plage, Lacanau, Gironde, August 13-17 with a $10,000 prize purse.
Now in its second year, the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge has already traversed the globe beginning back in February at North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia, then stopping at Lower Trestles, San Clemente, Calif., followed by Port Alfred, South Africa, and Etapa Itajai, Brazil. With a cumulative prize purse of $165,000, the series still has plenty of steam before hitting the wave-rich shores of Bali, Indonesia in October.