|Gabriela Bryan (HAW) and Kauli Vaast (FRA) claimed important wins at the World Surf League (WSL) Papara Pro Junior Tahiti events, respectively. Bryan’s dominance over Tahiti was undisputed after sweeping both the Papara Pro Open TahitiQualifying Series (QS) 1,000-level event yesterday and winning once more today in a rematch with Savanna Stone (HAW) for the Pro Junior victory. Following that showdown, the men’s Final witnessed Tahiti’s own Vaast deliver another spectacular day of surfing to secure his second-consecutive Papara Pro Junior win, this time over Robert Grilho (HAW) in dominant fashion.
The women’s Tahitian leg belongs to Bryan after an incredible showing over the last two days, not losing any of her heats along the way, and now boasts three wins in 2019 already. The 16-year-old and Stone, 15, were easy standouts at Papara and neither could be denied trips to the Final where, in the Pro Junior rematch, waves were a bit harder to come by and only a 6.01 (out of a possible 10) was needed by Stone this time around. But, the Kauai, Hawaii, native held firm and netted a 7.77 midway through the heat to put the pressure on — ultimately securing her win.
“This is pretty awesome and I am super happy to win both of these events,” Bryan said. “It was the same Final so it was definitively going to be hard because Savanna rips. The waves were very slow in that heat which made it difficult, but when the good ones came they were pretty good. You had to have a lot of patience.”
Now, Bryan prepares for a big leap in events from a 1,000 to the Sydney Pro pres. by Sisstrevolution QS 6,000. But the young Kauai competitor takes a lot of confidence away from a big week here after posting the events highest heat total of a 15.60 (out of a possible 20) in Round 3 – including the best single-wave score of a near-perfect 9.00.
The men’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti belonged to Vaast from the start and the 17-year-old kept that momentum steaming through until the Final. A defining Semifinal win over an in-form Brodi Sale (HAW), 16, set up Vaast for the opportunity against Grilho in a battle for the podium. But, Vaast was able to smash his way to a 15.37 heat total and leave Grilho needing a 7.38 after Vaast dropped an excellent 8.10 to put a staple on his campaign.
“I am super happy to win this event again,” Vaast said. “It’s my first competition of the year and Papara is a special place for me. We had tough conditions from the start yesterday, but worse conditions since the beginning so I’m glad waves were better for finals. We both had pretty good ones. Robert surfed really good and it was a good battle.”
Now Vaast prepares to head back to his competitive region and brings this momentum with him toward earning a Regional Pro Junior Title by year’s end.
“I’m going back to Europe, doing all Pro Juniors and this kind of victory, at home, is really giving me more confidence and motivation for what’s coming next.”
Maui, Hawaii’s, Stone couldn’t dismantle Bryan from her brilliant run but still walks away with two runner-up performances in Tahiti to take home. The 15-year-old can draw confidence from a clutch performance in her Quarterfinal heat against Luana Silva (HAW) where she posted an 8.77 to regain the lead and solidify her spot into the Semifinals. There is still one last Pro Junior event in the Hawaii / Tahiti Nui region and she’s put herself in a solid spot to clinch a WSL Junior Championship spot.
“In a few of the heats in this contest I stepped up and I started competing to how I surf,” Stone said. “I’m really happy with my performances here. I ended up getting a really good one at the end I kind of capitalized on. But I ended up not getting the scores that I needed. I’m super happy for Gaby though, she is one of my really good friends. This year I’m going to be focusing on our Juniors Turtle Bay event and focus to get my spot in World Juniors.”
For Grilho this result marks his best to date as a Pro Junior and showcased some of his dominant forehand ability, earning the day’s top highest single-wave score of an 8.83 in Round 3. The 15-year-old Oahu, Hawaii, native has plenty of training grounds to hone his skills in coming years and played ultimate spoiler for Tahitians after defeating island natives Felix Bourgoin and Teiva Tetahio in the Semifinals and Quarterfinals, respectively.
“You just learn more and more about this place, and this is a beautiful place,” Grilho said. “It’s nothing that bad so I am just learning, and doing my best. I kind of have an advantage because I’ve been surfing here two days for the past event, so I feel that if I do my best we will see how it goes. This is way different from waves in Oahu, how waves break, how everything is changing every hours you have to learn it all about this place.”
The next generation of Tahiti’s contingent put on a great display with three of its competitors making to the Semifinal of their respective events. For Aelan Vaast, 14, this is just a stepping stone toward bigger things.
“I did better than last year in both Junior and QS events and I am happy I lost against this year’s winner,” Vaast said. ” I am going to train harder with Hira Teriinatoofa (2x ISA World Champ) to do even better next year.”
Tomorrow’s 7:00 a.m. TAHT call will determine a possible 7:30 a.m. start to men’s QS Round 1
The Papara Pro Open Tahiti runs March 10 – 15 and includes a men’s QS 1,000, women’s QS 1,000, men’s Pro Junior, and women’s Pro Junior.
Men’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Final Results:
1 – Kauli Vaast (FRA) 15.37 1,000 points
2 – Robert Grilho (HAW) 8.33 750 points
Men’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 13.44 def. Brodi Sale (HAW) 10.23
SF 2: Robert Grilho (HAW) 16.33 def. Felix Bourgoin (PYF) 13.00
Men’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 15.47 def. Sage Tutterow (HAW) 12.03
QF 2: Brodi Sale (HAW) 13.34 def. Kainehe Hunt (HAW) 5.67
QF 3: Felix Bourgoin (PYF) 13.27 def. Cole Alves (HAW) 13.17
QF 4: Robert Grilho (HAW) 9.43 def. Teiva Tetahio (PYF) 9.90
Men’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 15.76, Brodi Sale (HAW) 12.80, Sammy Gray (HAW) 10.80, Makana Franzmann (HAW) 10.03
Heat 2: Kainehe Hunt (HAW) 13.40, Sage Tutterow (HAW) 13.40, Hauni David (PYF) 9.87, Eli Hanneman (HAW) 7.93
Heat 3: Cole Alves (HAW) 12.37, Teiva Tetahio (PYF) 11.70, Jackson Bunch (HAW) 10.33, Cole Frye (HAW) 10.00
Heat 4: Rober Grilho (HAW) 13.80, Felix Bourgoin (PYF) 12.17, Ocean Macedo (HAW) 11.50, Erwan Figuri (PYF) 10.60
Women’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Final Results:
1 – Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 12.17 1,000 points
2 – Savanna Stone (HAW) 11.34 750 points
Women’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 14.84 def. Aelan Vaast (PYF) 7.73
SF 2: Savanna Stone (HAW) 11.60 def. Nora Liotta (HAW) 9.43
Women’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 10.77 def. Erin Brooks (HAW) 3.47
QF 2: Aelan Vaast (PYF) 9.54 def. Gabriella Knudson (HAW) 5.54
QF 3: Nora Liotta (HAW) 11.90 def. Tehani Tefaatau (PYF) 9.27
QF 4: Savanna Stone (HAW) 14.77 def. Luana Silva (HAW) 13.16
Women’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 15.60, Gabriella Knudson (HAW) 13.57, Pua Desoto (HAW) 12.90, Ariana Shewry (AUS) 7.06
Heat 2: Aelan Vaast (PYF) 12.03, Erin Brooks (HAW) 10.00, Angelina Yossa (HAW) 7.74, Julia Camargo (BRA) 7.73
Heat 3: Nora Liotta (HAW) 12.10, Savanna Stone (HAW) Mathilde Monbrison (PYF) 7.23, Gillian Mekenzie (HAW) 3.93
Heat 4: Luana Silva (HAW) 15.06, Tehani Tefaatu (PYF) 8.46, Kahealani Papke (HAW) 6.83, Stella Valdez (USA) 5.03
Women’s Papara Pro Junior Tahiti Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Ariana Shewry (AUS) 10.50, Julia Camargo (BRA) 7.07, Ellie Brown (HAW) 3.83
Heat 2: Mathilde Monbrison (PYF) 8.03, Kahealani Papke (HAW) 6.23, Tepoe Tefaatau (PYF) 6.03