The Opening day of the World Surf League's Sambazon World Junior Championships presented by Best Western provided consistent waves and surprising scores at the iconic Seaside Reef in Encinitas on Monday.
Considering these are 48 of the best junior surfers in the world, calling results "surprising" may not be totally accurate but if you go by the rankings, the higher seeded competitors had a rough day result wise.
On the Mens' side, the highest seed to get through round 1 unbeaten was 4th-seed Kauli Vaast. The young man form Tahiti but surfing for France, is best known for his second-place finish in the Outerknown Tahiti Pro where, he lost to Miguel Pupo as a wildcard entrant.
On the ladies' side, second and third ranked Alyssa Spence and Sawyer Lindblad made it through as the highest seeded ladies.
Surfing in true WSL fashion, all competitors are still alive as Monday's winners move on to round 3 while the second and third place finishers in each of Monday's heats now go into one-on-one elimination matches. Competition was called off on Tuesday for rain but is expected to continue on Wednesday.
(Seed number in parenthesis)
(4) Kauli Vaast 11.60 6.67 + 4.93
Vaast grabbed the lead on his first wave and maintained the lead through out, despite scoring on just 4 waves. His opponents Ryan Kainalo (9.90) and Tenshi Iwami (7.40) combined to score on 15 waves.
(14) Jackson Bunch 13.63 7.00 + 6.63
After dropping a pair of mid 5's on his early waves, Bunch ripped off his two highest scores later in the heat. Brodi Sale (11.83) and Saxon Reber (9.83) each put up a mid 6 wave score.
(23) Taro Watanabe 11.73 6.10 + 5.63
Watanabe took control of the heat midway through with back-to-back high scores. Tide-Lee Ireland (8.00) and Jett Schilling (6.77) put up mid 4's as their high scores.
(24) Jarvis Earle 10.73 6.00 + 4.73
Earle put up the high wave of the heat to take the lead and then managed a solid back up late in the heat to stay in control. Joel Vaughan (8.03) and Bitor Garitaonandia (6.44) combined on just seven waves.
(12) Levi Slawson 12.33 7.33 + 5.00
Hometown threat Slawson survived a battle with Adur Amatriain (11.26) , who had the early lead with a 7.33. Slawson matched that score and put up a best back up of 5.00. Noa Dupoy settled for a (7.53) on five wave attempts.
(11) Eli Hanneman 15.17 7.67 + 7.50
Hanneman put up the high heat of the day in eye catching fashion, throwing away a low score of 7.37. The heat was the busiest of the day with Alan Cleland (11.30) scoring on 12 waves and Tommy Coleman (10.23) who caught 6. The trio caught 28 waves in all.
(10) Cauã Costa 12.20 6.83 + 5.37
Costa won a battle with Lennox Chell (11.33) with a steady heat. Chell had a high score of 6.33. Kade Matson (7.30) scored on seven waves in his return to competition heat.
(9) Oscar Berry11.50 6.33 + 5.17
Berry put together solid opening waves to take the lead and despite strong efforts from Kian Martin (11.16) and Luke Thompson (11.16) was able to hold off the latter two.
Wednesdays elimination matches shape up like this
HEAT 1 Joel Vaughan vs Saxon Reber HEAT 2 Alan Cleland vs Lennox Chell HEAT 3 Jett Schilling vs Tenshi Iwami HEAT 4 Kade Matson vs Kian Martin HEAT 5 Brodi Sale vs Noa Dupouy HEAT 6 Luke Thompson vs Bitor Garitaonandia HEAT 7 Adur Amatriain vs Tommy Coleman HEAT 8 Ryan Kainalo vs Tide-Lee Ireland
"It was really good to get a win in my first heat of the event yesterday, which gives me the advantage of skipping the elimination round," said Jarvis Earle. "I thought I surfed a pretty smart heat, so I'm excited to keep it going in the next round."
(13) Ellie Harrison 11.66 6.33 + 5.33
Harrison took the lead on back-to-back waves early in the heat. She had the two highest waves of the heat in topping Kirra Pinkerton (7.37) and Gemma Hanafey (3.27)
(3) Sawyer Lindblad 13.33 7.50 + 5.83
Waves were tough to catch in this one, only 8 between the three competitors. Lindblad's 5.83 early on, gave her the lead and her 7.50 at the end put it away. Sierra Kerr (9.16) and Rubiana Brownell (5.16) caught quality over quantity.
(2) Alyssa Spencer 12.66 6.33 + 6.33
Spencer was consistent on her waves with a pair of 6.33 scores and made it hold up in a tough heat. Puamakamae DeSoto (9.57) and Nanaho Tsuzuki (9.46) each caught 4 waves but fell short.
(24) Erin Brooks 11.50 7.33 + 4.17
Brooks scored the third highest wave for the day on the ladies side (7.33) to seal the heat win late in a very close match. Luana Silva (11.40 with a high of 6.17) and Janire Gonzalez Extabarri (11.04, high wave of 7.07) made for the close heat.
(12) Sol Aguirre 12.40 6.40 + 6.00
Aquirre caught just three waves but got the win on a pair of 6+ scores. Anon Matsuoka (9.43) and Zahli Kelly (8.93) each scored on five waves.
(19) Aelan Vaast 12.50 6.50 + 6.00
The only buzzer beater of the day came when Vaast got her highest score on the final wave countdown. Daniella Rosas (10.17) scored on just two waves and had the the lead until late. Eweleiula Wong (10.17) had a 6.00 as her high score.
(10) Laura Raupp 8.16 4.33 + 3.83
Quality waves were tough to come by in this one, but Raupp survived in a low scoring heat. All three surfers caught just four waves. Rachel Preti (6.86) and Louis Lepront (6.10) were close throughout.
(8) Francisca Veselko 13.67 7.67 + 6.00
Veselko came out strong with a 7.67 and it was enough to hold on for the win. Her backup score was the second highest of the heat as well. Ella McCaffray (10.43) and Sara Wakita (8.14) combined for 12 waves.
HEAT 1 Luana Silva vs Nanaho Tsuzuki HEAT 2 Rachel Presti vs Louise Lepront HEAT 3 Kirra Pinkerton vs Rubiana Brownell HEAT 4 Sara Wakita vs Ella McCaffray HEAT 5 Zahli Kelly vs Gemma Hanafey HEAT 6 Eweleiula Wong vs Janire Gonzalez Etxabarri HEAT 7 Daniella Rosas vs Anon Matsuoka HEAT 8 Sierra Kerr vs Puamakamae DeSoto
"The waves yesterday were so fun with some good opportunity for big scores," said Ellie Harrison. "It picked up during the women's rounds and the girls put on a show. I'm super happy to get the win and first round nerves out of the way. I really enjoyed being out there."
The next call for competition is set up for Wednesday morning 8 am weather permitting.