April 28 - May 4, 2019: Issue 402



Bodhi Leigh-Jones - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Dakoda Walters (Angourie, NSW) and Bodhi Leigh-Jones (Avalon, NSW) have taken out stop two on the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai, after a day of exciting battles in playful two-foot beachbreak conditions.

Dakoda Walters (Angourie, NSW) will jump up into third position on the 2019 WSL Junior Tour rankings thanks to his impressive performance at Cronulla. Walters continued to use his innovative and stylish approach in the final, performing a handful of giant aerial maneuvers and powerful carves to notch up a 14.65 two-wave heat total and get the win ahead of fellow event standout Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc. Vic) who claimed second position with a 13.80 heat total. Walters dedicated the win to Australian surfing icon, friend and fellow Angourie native Dave “Baddy” Treloar who passed away late last month.

“This is a pretty sick feeling,” said Walters. “I began doing a few juniors at the start of the year but didn’t really get any results, so to get to this stage and share some fun waves with the guys in the final is pretty cool. Coming into this year, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the Pro Junior events but I really wanted to prove to myself that I could win one. Baddy was the biggest legend ever, so it’s awesome to get this win for him.”

After years of podium finishes, but never claiming a victory, Bodhi Leigh-Jones (Avalon, NSW) was able to take a Pro Junior win in what is her final year on the series. Leigh-Jones shone in the four-lady final, performing an eclectic array of frontside snaps and carves and as a result finished the final with a respectable 13.85 two-wave heat total. Following a priority interference by fellow event standout, Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head, NSW), the final turned into a three horse race between Leigh-Jones, Carly Shanahan (Wolli, NSW) and Pacha Luque-Light (Gold Coast, Qld), however Leigh-Jones was able to keep her opposition at arms length thanks to her aforementioned scoreline. 

“I’ve been doing the Pro Juniors for a while now but never won one, so this is a huge relief for me,” said Leigh-Jones. “The next stop for me is Burleigh and it’s a point break so hopefully we get some good waves there and I can keep the results coming.”  

The main base for the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai was North Cronulla with backup locations of Elouera and Wanda.

The three-event Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai includes stops at the legendary Bells Beach, Cronulla and North Stradbroke Island. 

The WSL sanctioned Pro Junior events, which includes 18 and under boys’ and girls’ divisions, form part of the 2019 WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), providing the winning athletes with an opportunity to win a coveted World Title at the World Surf League Junior Championships in 2019. 

Proudly supported by the WSL and Surfing Australia, the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai will provide an important event platform at a crucial point in the development of Australia’s leading junior surfers.


1 – Dakoda Walters (Angourie, NSW)
2 – Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc, Vic)
3 – Tane Bowden (NZL)
4 – Taj Stokes (Sunshine Coast, Qld)

1 – Bodhi Leigh-Jones (Avalon, NSW)
2 – Carly Shanahan (Wolli, NSW)
3 – Pacha Luque-Light (Gold Coast, Qld)
4 – Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head, NSW)

Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai Event Dates and Locations:
EVENT 1 - North Stradbroke, QLD - Jan 12 - 13, 2019
EVENT 2 - Cronulla, NSW - Apr 27 - 28, 2019
EVENT 3 - Bells Beach, VIC - Sept 24 - 25, 2019

Report by Surfing NSW

Photos by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Bodhi Leigh-Jones - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Dakoda Walters - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Final Day - Tye Koolis - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Final Day - Ryan - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW



Saturday, April 27, 2019

Stop two on the Hydralyte Sports Surf Series presented by Hyundai kicked off today in difficult two-foot conditions as some of the world’s most promising junior surfers aimed to earn their spot into the final day of competition.

Following the shock first-round elimination of current World Surf League (WSL) Junior Rankings leader Molly Picklum (Shelly Beach, NSW) today, the ball has landed in the court of second and third placeholders Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head, NSW) and Hollie Williams (Sunshine Coast, Qld) to narrow the gap as they continue their campaigns at Cronulla. Both Ryan and Williams put on respectable performances in their opening exchanges, claiming wins and posting two-wave heat totals in the 12-point range. Both surfers will surf in opposing sides of the draw when they tackle their quarterfinals tomorrow. 

“The conditions were tricky out there for sure. I knew it’d just be best to stay as busy as I could,” said Ryan. “I haven’t looked at the rankings too much as I’m focusing mainly on the event and just trying to take every heat as it comes.”

Coached by former world number two Brad Gerlach, Taro Watanabe (USA) used his light-footed approach to positive effect, nailing a variety of mushy sections in his opening heat. Watanabe nailed a handful of lightning-fast snaps and carves in the heat to post a respectable 11.60 two-wave heat total to gain the win over perpetual event threat Tane Bowden (NZL) who claimed the second spot.

“The waves were small, but they were fun if you could find them,” said Watanabe. “I was recently staying at my coach Gerr’s place at Torquay and thought it would a really good experience to come up here and surf against some of the Aussie junior surfers.”


Taro Watanabe - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Recent Rip Curl Pro wildcard Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc, Vic) used the momentum of having recently surfed a heat with 11-times World Champion Kelly Slater and Brazilian standout Felipe Toledo to propel him to claim a victory in the first round at Cronulla. The Victorian natural-footer remained busy over the course of his first heat posting his two-wave heat total in the opening five minutes of the heat. Huxtable performed a handful of impressive turns to post a 12.65 two-wave heat total.

“Surfing in my first CT (Championship Tour) event was such a great experience and thankfully we got some really fun waves at Winkipop for my heat,” said Huxtable. “I think having those heats helped my confidence a lot as you get the chance to watch and learn from the world’s best. Hopefully, I can use it to keep getting through heats here in Cronulla.” 

Having recently returned from a sponsor trip to Bells Beach, Joel Vaughan (Bateau Bay, NSW) came into Cronulla feeling confident and eager to put on a solid performance in his opening heat. Vaughan executed a barrage of giant backside snaps in the heat to finish with a 14.75 two-wave heat total to cement his spot into round three. 

“Surfing a lot down in Victoria and around the event at Bells definitely opened my eyes and helped me build my surfing I think,” said Vaughan. “I felt pretty good as I went out in that heat, so I hope I can continue to build on that as we head into finals day tomorrow.”

Report by Surfing NSW