Press release: SARAH Mason (Gold Coast Australia) had her great season-to-date suddenly disrupted today when she was eliminated in her round one heat of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Fantastic Noodles Pro Junior by fellow Gold/Tweed Coast surfer Codie Klein!
Mason was the number one seed and current number one on the Australasian Pro Junior Circuit ratings, had notched up two wins on the pro junior tour this season along with her sensational performance earlier this year when she defeated current world champion Stephanie Gilmore and finished 3rd in an ASP World Tour event in New Zealand.
Today however the fifteen year old was unable to match the wave selection and follow up good surfing of fellow emerging youngster and Gold Coaster,16 year old Codie Klein.
"I wasn't too worried about surfing my first heat against Sarah" said Klein after her heat win.
"I train with Sarah all the time as we're from the same area (Nth Tweed Coast) and I know she's a great surfer but I'm confident in my own surfing as well and right now I'm feeling great having just returned from a surf trip in the Maldives, although, adjusting to the cold water temperatures down here has been somewhat of a shock to the system!"
"The waves are good out there and I'm certainly keen to get through some more rounds here."
Klein was in last place mid heat but found a strong 7 point scoring ride which she powered through a series of well executed backhand bottom-to-top turn combinations and that ride elevated her from 4th to second place.
Shortly after she found another strong scoring right hand peeling ride, again unleashing a series of backhand turns to post a 7.5, jumping to first place with the two top scoring rides of the heat to defeat Victorian surfer Nikki Van Dijk who advanced in 2nd place and leaving Mason eliminated in 3rd place.
Klein's 14.50 out of a possible 20 heat tally was also the morning's top scoring heat win.
Other's to impress in round one included Felicity Palmeteer (WA), Dimity Stoyle (Qld), Philippa Anderson (NSW) and Airini Mason (Gold Coast).
Airini Mason, Sarah Mason's older sister, is presently in 2nd place on the Australasian Pro Junior Series ratings and her strong opening round heat win has her very well positioned to qualify for the ASP World Junior Championships later this year.
"My goal is to qualify for the ASP World Juniors in Bali in October " said Airini.
"I'm just focusing on heat by heat but I was really keen to do well in that heat as I watched Sarah lose out just before and I really wanted to win through for the family - it was strange but I was disappointed for Sarah and it motivated me and probably made me more determined and I'll carry that throughout this event."
Dimity Stoyle (Sunshine Coast) is also aiming to make the top two on the ASP Pro Junior Season ratings and qualify for the ASP World Junior Championships and today's early round loss by Sarah Mason has certainly "opened the door" for Stoyle to qualify.
"Realistically I probably need to win one of the two final events to qualify and that's what I'm focusing on" said Stoyle.
"I'm feeling good about how I'm surfing and I'm confident I can win so having that opportunity to qualify really just makes me more determined - that was a good start, I'm acclimatising to the water and I'll aim to build on that result heat by heat."
Earlier heats of the Pro Junior men's division were run late in the afternoon with strong performances from number 1 seed Davey Cathels (Sydney) and Sam Wrench (Sth Coast NSW) who both advanced stylishly.
Local surfer Max Longhurst (Port Elliot SA) placed third in his opening round heat and was eliminated from the event behind Sam Wrench and Shaun Howe (WA).
Good winds and good swells look likely to maintain throughout this event and organizers will assess conditions tomorrow morning with a reasonable chance that the event might relocate to nearby Waitpinga Beach.
The annual Fantastic Noodles Pro Junior began in good clean 1m surf at Middleton beach on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula as opening rounds of the Pro Junior Men's and Women's divisions were completed.