The 2010 Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships is in full swing down in Piha, New Zealand, and it would appear the kids on the American and Hawaiian squads are rolling.
Having to negotiate classic New Zealand conditions, which entails hunkering down in swirling winds and frequent rain squalls, on the men's side of the draw, the only real loss either team has experienced thus far is Santa Barbara's Conner Coffin getting upended by defending gold medalist Keanu Asing. It's not exactly and upset, but then you never want to see your Number One seed falter.
Other than that, performances by the boys have been rock solid. Kolohe Andino, Andrew Doheny, Evan Geiselman, Kaimana Jaquias, Koa Smith, and a handful of other are going strong.
"We had a tough go in a couple of the heats," said USA Surf Team head coach Ian Cairns in a statement on the team's web page. "But all teams have the same conditions to deal with. We just have to work a bit harder to get the job done."
And when it comes to the ladies, they're most certainly getting the job done. For the American girls, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Lakey Peterson and Courtney Conlogue have been leading the charge. All have continued to advance and are still in the running. And when it comes to the girls from Hawaii, Malia Manuel and Alessa Cuizon are going to be tough to beat as we move into the money rounds.
"I have been confident that our girls team has great talent and depth," said Cairns, "and today's results confirmed what I was thinking. Four girls in eight heats ... seven wins and a second place finish. They are on a roll."
Personally, I'm still not sold on having the Americans and Hawaiians as two separate teams, especially if the ultimate goal is to take out the ever-dominant Aussies, but then again, since both teams seem to be flourishing down in Piha, who am I to complain?