TAHITI, French Polynesia (Friday, April 6, 2012) – The Inaugural Billabong Tahiti Nui Pro Junior ran at Papara, a high performance rivermouth beachbreak in punchy 2 to 3 foot (1.5 meter) surf today. Australasia’s best junior surfers went to battle with valuable ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series ratings points on offer.
Wade Carmichael (AUS), who won the Rangiroa Pro Junior earlier this week, opened his account at the Billabong Tahiti Nui Pro Junior with a massive 9.33 (out of a possible 10). Carmichael unleashed five monster power carves on his opening wave of the event to impress the judges and easily advance to the next round.
“The waves here are really fun with left and right peaks everywhere,” Carmichael said. “The one I got the big score on was such a good wave with a few nice sections. It’s been such a good trip here in Tahiti. I’m loving it, I just hope I score I few more good waved before I go home.”
Enrique Ariitu (PYF) was one of the many local standouts at Papara today. Ariitu positioned himself on multiple excellent waves that allowed him to open up and execute massive turns and blow-tail aerials.
“I’ve been doing all the events in Australia this year and it feels great to be home for the Billabong Tahiti Nui Pro Junior,” Ariitu said. “I’m really proud to see all the Tahitian boys ripping here, they’re surfing well and I hope they do good in the event. This is my last junior competition for the year and I’m feeling good and I hope to get a big result.”
Asher Wales (AUS) won his Round of 32 heat today with his sharp backhand attack. Wales mixed snaps, carving 360s and backhand air-reverses to earn some solid scores and advance to the next round of what is likely to be the last Pro Junior event of his career.
“Papara is a lot like some beaches at home,” Wales said. “There are lots of sections that stand up nicely. It’s a fun little wave for me on my backhand. I took off on one and blew my first turn, then it walled up and allowed me to do a reverse and then an air at the end. I was happy with that one. Then I waited for a bit and picked off another good wave and that got me through the heat.”
Mateia Hiquily (PYF) jumped from third to first in the last few minutes of his Round of 32 heat today thanks to some strong turns and impressive airs. Hiquily advanced to the next Round alongside Connor O’Leary (AUS) who finished second. The young Tahitian was disappointed to eliminate his good friend O’Neil Massin (PYF) who finished third.
“I’m disappointed that my friend didn’t get the score he needed,” Hiquily said. “I didn’t know what score I had, but I knew I got a couple of good waves at the end. It’s great to have a competition of this size in Tahiti, because we don’t have too many over here. It’s good to show everyone how good all the local surfers are.”