Dreams come true.
On January 24, 2013, history was made with one of the premiere Pro Junior events in the sport of surfing. The swell charts came together with two days of perfect conditions and flawless Sunset Beach ranging from 4 to 6 feet. This was the perfect opportunity for the next generation of aspiring professional surfers to test their skills at one of the most prestigious waves in the world. The level of surfing was incredible with a truly international field. Surfers came from all over the world for the opportunity to surf an event at Sunset Beach. The field consisted of surfers from Italy, Australia, Peru, the USA, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Brazil. The performance level was incredible throughout the entire event with barrels, big turns and even a couple aerial maneuvers.
There was an expression session paying tribute to the forefathers of our sport and the juniors had the pleasure of watching Derek Ho, Barton Lynch, Tom Curren, Richard Schmidt, Bobby Owens, Buttons Kaluhiokalani, Reno Abellira and James Jones draw perfect lines on the clean Sunset Beach walls.
The amount of second-generation surfers who competed in the event was incredible. It was a display that showed surfing is a family sport and is passed down from generation to generation. Among the second-gen surfers were names like Curren, Beschen, McNamara, Jaquias, Aikau, Wakita, Sarlo, Moniz, Asing, and De Col.
The live web cast came together with an all-star crew of commentators as legends Pancho Sullivan, Barton Lynch, Dino Andino, Myles Padaca, Joel Centeio, Jason Shibata, Shane Beschen, Liam McNamara, Rocky Cannon and Angelo Lozano shared their insights and professional expertise with the viewing audience around the world. The fact that this event had a live, worldwide webcast and live tv on Time Warner 250 in Hawaii also offered up an opportunity for unknown surfers to come out of the woodwork and make a name for themselves. Kaito Kino did just that as he took down Hawaiian superstar Zeke Lau in the early rounds on his way to the semifinals.
The finals were run in perfect 6-foot Sunset Beach and all the competitors put on a great performance with three breakthrough finalists.
At 15 years old, Seth Moniz made his first Pro Junior final and showed maturity beyond his years as he finished 2nd in the final narrowly losing to Ian Crane in the final minutes. This was Ian Crane’s first final in his Pro Junior career and he took advantage by posting an 8.5 in the final minutes to take the lead and the win from young Seth Moniz.
This was an opportunity for Crane to rise above the shadows of his golden boy counterparts (Kolohe Andino and Luke Davis) to be the first to win an event in the prestigious Hawaiian waters and solidify himself as one of the next potential WT talents to come from San Clemente.
Keanu Asing and Parker Coffin also put in great performances in a tightly-contested final where anyone could have won with just one good wave.
The women also put on a great display of surfing. Moana Jones, at the young age of 13, showed no fear as she rode one of the biggest waves of the day to victory. Mahina Maeda also surfed really well attacking the walls of Sunset Beach and coming in a close second place. Brissa Hennesey and Bailey Nage also put in great performances on their way to the final.
This event was the stepping stone to ramping up the Pro Junior tour and really giving the next generation of professional surfers the opportunity to compete in Hawaii in quality waves with a worldwide audience.
When Liam offered me the opportunity to be Contest Director, I didn’t realize how much work went into an event and really how important these events are for the future our sport. I have committed with Liam and Faith Wenzl to help make the future of surfing brighter and better for the next generation of aspiring professional surfers. Without any major title sponsor, Liam put this event together with the support of the local community, gathering over 30 individual sponsors to give back to the sport that has brought them so much revenue throughout the past 30 years. There was over $30,000 in cash and prizes given out to the competitors without any major support from the surfing industry.
The next Pro Junior event is confirmed to be at the Banzai Pipeline! Once again offering an opportunity of a lifetime for the next generation of aspiring professionals to test their skills at one of the best and most prestigious waves in the world. The event is scheduled for March 12 – 22 and the search for event support and sponsorship is underway. The goal is to make the event a 4-star and with 7 weeks to go, it is important to start gaining support to make it happen. Any and all support is greatly appreciated and will directly benefit the athletes, the brands, the media and the sport of surfing. Time is of the essence to make this event happen, and it is crucial for potential sponsors and media outlets to come on board to create what could be the most historic Pro Junior in surfing history.
I am now committed to making the Pro Junior tour in Hawaii the best in the world and I ask the surfing industry and community to stand behind the future of our sport. These young surfers will be the leaders of our sport in the future and will be the star athletes of the brands and the media in years to come. They deserve the support of our industry and the opportunity to learn how to compete in Hawaii at the best venues in the world.
Please consider this an amazing opportunity to make positive change in the sport we all love.
1 Ian Crane
2 Seth Moniz
3 Keanu Asing
4 Parker Coffin
1 Moana Jones
2 Mahina Maeda
3 Brissa Hennessey
4 Bailey Nage
Tony Moniz: “Hawaii will always be the mecca of surfing and letting the Juniors have an opportunity to compete at this venue is priceless. Thank you for pioneering these events not only for Hawaii, but for the world.”
Barton Lynch: “This event has the potential to become the most prestigious Pro Junior event in the world.”
Dino Andino: “What an amazing event and really important for the future of surfing.”
Shane Beschen: “This is definitely one of the most prestigious and important Pro Junior events in the world.”
Liam McNamara: “My dreams have become reality and this was a historic day in Pro Junior competition.”
Pancho Sullivan: “The Juniors seized the opportunity to showcase their surfing at one of the most prestigious venues in the world and put on amazing performances. The future of surfing looks very bright!”
Dave Riddle: “The Sunset Beach Pro Junior was a well organized, quality event that gave the kids a wonderful chance to take their game to a higher level.”
Peter King: “The event provided a great gathering of the tribes on the most pivotal stretch of beach in the world, putting on a great showcase for the future of surfing.”