Dylan Graves wins the Oakley Pro Junior at Ocean City NJ
Oakley Pro Junior
Grade 2 ASP Pro Junior
Ocean City, New Jersey
14 - 15 May 2005
Dylan Graves wins the Oakley Pro Junior
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 May, 2005 : - - The annual Oakley Pro Junior presented by Heritage Surf & Sport hosted 60 of the best ASP Pro Juniors from the North America region the weekend of May 14 & 15 in Ocean City, New Jersey. The Grade 2 ASP Pro Junior event is the third in a four event tour for those ASP North American juniors attempting to qualify for the 2005 Billabong World Junior Championship (WJC) in North Narrabeen, Australia scheduled for early January.
Each ASP region will send 5 of their best juniors to the prestigious WJC event which has crowned previous Junior Champions including Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson. This year the top 4 rated ASP North American juniors will be invited to the WJC along with the top rated WQS North American Junior who did not already qualify in the top 4.
1, Dylan Graves
2, David Awbrey
3, Nick Rozsa
3, Alex Grey
Any thoughts that local surfers might have the coldwater advantage and upset surfers from warmer latitudes over the weekend were quickly forgotten as Dylan Graves of Puerto Rico streaked across the face of a waist-high wave en route to victory over Floridian David Awbrey at the Heritage Oakley Junior Pro.
The surf for the final rounds Sunday was small but better than the disorganized micro-waves of the early rounds Saturday. Clean swell, in the knee to stomach-high range, graced the Third Street beach. Top juniors from Florida, California and the Caribbean, showed just how well tiny waves can be surfed.
"I'm really stoked," said the 19-year-old Graves, from Isabella, Puerto Rico. "I wasn't expecting to do this well. The waves were really small. I just kept finding the right ones."
Graves' father, Louis, a legendary Florida surfer, moved the family to Puerto Rico when Dylan was just months old. The younger Graves was raised on the consistent reef breaks on the Northwest side of the island. Graves was widely known as a promising competitor from an early age.
The 52-degree water did not seem to affect Graves as he surfed without wetsuit boots. "It's not bad. You surfed 20-minute heats and then you warm up. The beach was pretty warm today," he said. The traveling surfers enjoy the New Jersey venues.
"It's such a different experience," said Alex Gray of Palos Verdes, Calif. "A waist-high wave here is actually punchier than one in California. It's really contestable."
Awbrey, a finalist at this event in 2004 and a notable small-wave slasher, came out swinging at the lefts in the semifinal and never looked back, defeating Nick Rosza of Puerto Rico. Graves beat Alex Gray, who had consistently put up top scores throughout the event, to advance.
With the tide rising during the final, the action moved south of the judges' scaffolding. Awbrey jumped out to another tough lead, posting three waves before Graves had a single score. However, with 12 minutes remaining, he notched a 7.5 on a left.
Then, Graves found the magic line. He connected to the inside on a speedy right, milking every bit of energy from the wave. Awbrey pocketed $1,500 and Graves headed back to Puerto Rico $2,500 richer.
Junior Pro events, sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals, offer pro surfers under 21, competitive experience outside of the World Qualifying Series. It also gives top local amateurs a chance to surf against some of the best juniors in the country. The Heritage Oakley event is one of only four events on the Junior Tour.
Ben Graeff, 16, of Longport was eliminated from the Round of 48 in a four-man heat that included Graves. "It's cool that all these guys come from everywhere to surf this contest. That definitely makes you a better surfer," Graeff said.
Zach Humphries, 15, of Margate took an equal 13th place and won $200. In the first heat of the event, he moved from third to first place, nailing a solid backside snap on a left, and then finding a reforming right section, mirrored the move, frontside. "This contest is right in our back yard. We don't have to travel," Humphries said. "I wish the waves could have been better, but everybody has to surf the same waves."
The next domestic Junior event is the Lost Junior Pro, at the Bank of the West Beach Games, in Huntington Beach, Calif., in July.
Juniors - Surfersvillage