It was first thought of as a roll-of-the-dice to move the Billabong Junior Pro In Memory of Ronnie Burns from its ‘home’ site of Kewalo Basin on O’ahu’s south shore to the North Shore. It’s been an up and down six years for the hugely popular event that relies on South swell and a short waiting period. Trying to tap into anything from the North (even wrapping wind swell) is a stab in the dark for September, but the kids have been hooting for a chance at a “winter feel” for their competition so everyone held their breath and gave a blind point at the calendar. As it turned out the only thing between us and Kodiak, Alaska offered up 2 doses of swell, first for the Girls’ division and then a day’s worth of Sunset Point for the guys. In a classic battle of youth vs. youth, 14-year old John John Florence didn’t need to travel far from his Pupukea beach home to take on the state’s hottest under the age of 21. And classically, the following morning it was back to almost summer flatness.
The Finals were a fast-paced 30 minute slam ‘n tuck as John John, Mason Ho 2nd, Maui’s Dusty Payne 3rd and Kona’s Casey Brown 4th went for broke chasing the shifting peaks and walls that kept stacking up, either on the dry reef of Bone Yards or pushing wide off the point at Sunset – a few times throughout the day capping near the middle break. John John earned his $2,000 with a number of tube rides and a good read of the break for some big snaps on the in-between sets. All four will fly down to Australia for the Billabong Junior Pro World Championship next January.