Location: Merewether Beach, Newcastle/NSW, Australia
Event: NIB Pro Junior
Conditions: Clean 2-to-3 foot
MEREWETHER BEACH NEWCASTLE/NSW, AUS (Sunday, February 12, 2017) – Thirteen-year-old dynamo Zahli Kelly from Cabarita (NSW) squeezed past 16-year-old Hawaiian surfer Summer Macedo by a tenth of a point to claim the nib Pro Junior Women’s title.
Kelly, who drew the WSL wildcard for the event today, is racking up extensive kilometres on the stretch of Pacific Highway between Cabarita and Newcastle. In late January, she took out the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Wildcard Trials to claim a spot in the Anditi Women’s Pro that gets underway at Merewether beach on Monday week, where she’ll surf in the round of 48 and come up against elite tour world number five Johanne Defay.
And while she’ll be back up the Pacific Highway early tomorrow morning, she’ll be back in Newcastle next Friday as part of the Cabarita team contesting the Australian Boardriders Battle next weekend at Newcastle beach.
Kelly, who won the wildcard into this year’s Roxy Pro Trials after becoming the 2016 Queensland Junior champion last August at Duranbah, today added to her impressive run of titles including the 2016 Queensland Open Championship and a second placing in the 2016 U/18 Australian Titles.
The distance education student, whose coach is former dual world junior champion James “Taipan” Wood, cites Brazilian Felipe Toledo as her favourite surfer.
She was elated about today’s win.
“I feel a bit surprised. I can’t believe I won and thought I left my run a bit late in the final. I got my two best waves in the last eight minutes.
“I’m heaps happy to get the wildcard into the Anditi Womens Pro,” Kelly said.
And Kelly has 2000 reasons to be heaps happy. Because for the very first time in Australasian Pro Junior surfing, the prize money for the winner stumped up by event sponsor nib was the same for the junior women as it was for the junior men.
Final Results: nib Pro Junior
1. Zahli Kelly (Cabarita, NSW) 12.90
2. Summer Macedo (Hawaii) 12.80
3. Alyssa Lock (Snapper Rocks, QLD) 10.90
4. Kiara Meredith (Shell Harbour, NSW) 7.25
For more information head to www.WorldSurfLeague.com or check out the WSL app.