Kiama, Australia: Ethan Ewing and Macy Callaghan were crowned World Junior Champions, winning the event in their very own country. Ewing won over the American, Griffin Colapinto, by putting him in a combination situation. Callaghan also won in the same manner over Mahina Maeda of Hawaii, putting Maeda in a tight spot, needing a combo score.
Ewing has been on a tear all year from the beginning of 2016. He started with hopes to gain enough points in the Qualifying series to earn seeds in QS10000 events, but he exceeded his own expectations and won multiple QS events, and performed consistently throughout the 2016 QS season, where he wrapped it up with a second place ranking in the world QS rankings, earning him a sweet spot into the elite World Championship Tour. Furthermore, Ewing earned a rookie of the year award at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. All these he accomplished between the age of 17 and 18.
Now 18 years old, Ewing is the only Championship Tour player in the entire World Junior Championships. This meant there was much expected of him entering into the event, and he delivered without any hesitation.
Like Ewing, Callaghan also had an incredible year and has been a familiar face in the podium all year. She won four events en route to the Australasia region title where she shared the podium several times with Ewing. Unlike Ewing, Callaghan just turned 16 and has two more years to compete in the junior category.
Macy finished at 15th place in the world QS rankings, which isn’t a far cry from qualification to the Women’s Championship Tour. With her incredible performances all year round, Callaghan looks confident that she has what it takes to make it to the world’s elite league as soon as she comes of age.
The World Junior Championship gave a glimpse of what the future of professional surfing looks like. Australians have so much to be proud of with their new young champions. The high performance surfing shown throughout the week was a testament to surfing’s rapid progress on its way to becoming a mainstream sport recognized globally.