Monday, January 18, 2010 Updated: June 15, 11:08 AM ET
World junior what?
Maxime Huscenot, your 2010 ASP World Junior Champion.
Over the weekend Reunion Island's Maxime Huscenot and Australia's Laura Enever won the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships. Held at Narrabbeen, in scattered two-foot surf, both Huscenot and Evener came in as relative upstarts, or let's just put it this way, people had their eyes on some bigger names. But proving that it's not the name that makes the champion, they both ground through the gritty field to win the men's and women's titles, respectively. In a weird coincidental side note, Huscenot had to get past Owen Wright to get his win, while Enever had to take out Tyler Wright, Owen's kid sister.
Coming quickly on the heels of the ASP Championships, on January 20 the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championship kicks off in New Zealand. In an awkward bit of timing, that makes two world junior titles up for grabs in the matter of three weeks.
Laura Enever, one of the few surfers in the world to own both an ISA and an ASP world title.
On the surface it would appear that the two governing bodies are essentially vying for the same bit of competitive real estate, and yes, it's silly to have the contests so close together, but the organizations do have different aims.
The ASP's objective is to feed the WQS/WCT machine, basically, to groom future world champions like Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, and the like. Case in point, prior to the start of the event the reigning world champ was watching like a hawk. "Owen [Wright] is World Champ material if you ask me," said Fanning. "I've watched him evolve over the years and he'll be the man to beat at the World Juniors for sure, provided he's recovered from some heavy injuries suffered during the Portugal World Tour event."
On the flipside, the primary objective for the ISA, besides providing a platform for nationalistic fervor, is to hopefully one day put the sport of surfing in the Olympics. "One of my challenges is to rationally show the Olympic Movement the convincing case on how much good to Olympism and to the Games, Olympic surfing will be," writes ISA President Fernando Aguerre. "One of the ISA's jobs is to continue the path begun by Hawaiian surfer and multiple swimming gold medal winner Duke Kahanamoku, who in 1920 asked the IOC to include surfing in the Olympic Games."
So there you go, two world junior championships with two very different ulterior motives. Like anything, there's more to it than that, but for the sake of boiling it down, that is the reason for this junior season.