Finals Day Set For World Surf League Ron Jon Junior Pro, Roxy Junior Pro In Cocoa Beach
By Space Coast Daily // March 17, 2019
action starts begins Sunday at 8 a.m. ET
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Finals day is set for the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Junior Pro and Roxy Junior Pro, alongside the men’s Qualifying Series (QS) Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, after the women jumpstarted their Cocoa Beach, Florida, campaigns.
Continued, one-to-two foot windswell pushed into Alan Shepard Park as the women scorched through Round 1 affairs and the men determined their Semifinalists. The men’s QS 1,500 was called off for the day.
Zoe Benedetto (Palm City, Fla.) shined in her debut and boasted an excellent, meaning an 8.00 (out of a possible 10) or higher, 8.00 to come out firing.
The 13-year-old continued her reign and ended with a 14.75 (out of a possible 20) heat total to solidify the day’s top performance, but a big finals day still awaits. Benedetto has the right mindset to back up her confidence and is feeling right at home.
“I just tried to stay positive since it was small and I feel like if you come to the beach thinking the waves are bad, you won’t do well in your heat,” Benedetto said.
“That’s negative energy and you have to block that out. After getting that score I just started thinking ‘what else can I do to get two turns now and a bigger score?’ I’m always thinking where I can go next. It’s great having my friends in the heats because we have that friendly rivalry going which brings in a whole new aspect to the heat.”
Hailing from Cardiff, California, Ella McCaffray adapted to the smaller conditions beautifully as she returns for her second time to Cocoa Beach — posting a 7.00 which gave her the tie break when over Sawyer Lindblad (San Clemente, Calif.).
It was all strategy for the 15-year-old and she was able to adjust her plan accordingly when conditons got slow, but still hunt down opportunities throughout her heat.
McCaffray is staying in the moment and taking each experience as it comes to her at a young age with plenty to learn.
“It was pretty tough out there and I got pretty nervous waiting for a while to get a wave but I’m happy to get the win in the end,” McCaffray said.
“My plan was to stay busy but nothing really came in so I just waited. It’s hard to train for an event like this in California but the waves back home have been small so it’s been good training. I’m really trying to make the Final and hopefully we get some better conditions.”
The men narrowed their field down to the final eight competitors for Semifinal draws after decisive Quarterfinal bouts.
Crosby Colapinto (San Clemente, Calif.) came out swinging swiftly and deadly with a 7.00 and backed it up with a 7.15 to secure a Semifinal spot alongside Virginia Beach, Virginia’s, Blayr Barton.
The 17-year-old’s run to the No. 2 spot on the regional Pro Junior rankings last year taught Colapinto that every event can be consequential despite dropping the lowest result. A mere 225 points separated Colapinto from Gunter but now the Californian knows what’s required.
“I’ve been trying to be smarter and stay consistent in every heat I go into,” Colapinto said. “That’s what I want to do and keep some consistency throught the year and win the rankings at the end of this year. I feel like Florida, and small waves in general, so if I can get a good result here that will help build confidence moving forward. Now I have a feel for these kind of waves with the bigger boards and feel pretty good.”
Fellow San Clemente competitors Jett Schilling and Kade Matson continue to represent well for their hometown, joined by Pascuales, Mexico, native Alan Cleland and Cocoa Beach’s own William Hedleston into the Semifinals.
Melbourne Beach, Florida’s, Tommy Coleman returns to the Semifinals after vying for the win in 2017 and has some unfinished business heading into tomorrow’s finals day.
An impeccable 14.25 heat total in the tough conditions reflected the 17-year-old’s performance with precise and powerful surfing to continue his momentum toward the Semifinals alongside Taro Watanabe (Malibu, California).
Last year wasn’t Coleman’s best while learning to perform through growing pains but comes into this season ready.
“It feels really good to make it through to the Semifinals again after not being able to break through to the Quarterfinals last year,” Coleman said.
” I had a shocker but decided to start he new year fresh and it’s nice to surf close to home. Conditions are like this a lot so I’m used to this kind of surfing and it feels so good to have this kind of support around you. I’ve just been working on a few things and my surfing, trying to get stronger. It’s hard because I’ve grown a lot from a few years ago and I got really tall last year so I was growing into my body while figuring out how to surf.”
An 8:00 a.m. EDT start awaits the Quarterfinal draw for the women Pro Juniors and kickoff an exciting final day of competition.
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