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.
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.
Conditions are expected to remain good throughout this event which is expected to finish on Sunday.
ASP Australasia Media Manager
Image:Steve Robertson ASP Aust