LAGUNDRI BAY, Nias, Indonesia (Tuesday, September 12, 2023) – Monnojo Yahagi (JPN) and Cocona Kawase (JPN) have claimed impressive victories at the 2023 Nias Pro Junior World Surf League (WSL) event. Lagundri Bay didn’t deliver the world-class waves it’s known for on Finals Day, but that didn’t detract from the action as some of Asia and Australia / Oceania’s best 20 and under surfers put on a show in wind-affected two-to-three foot surf.
The men’s Final saw eventual winner Monnojo Yahagi (JPN) take on fellow Japanese competitor Tenshi Iwami (JPN) and Australian duo Winter Vincent (AUS) and Jarvis Earle (AUS). Yahagi put on an aerial clinic in the 35-minute matchup, saving his best for the last 10 minutes, where he posted an amazing 9.33 (out of a possible 10) for two air reverses and then, on his next wave, a single air reverse on a sizeable set wave for a 7.23. Yahagi’s combined heat of 16.55 (out of a possible 20) was the highest of the event.
“I’m really stoked to win this Pro Junior. I won the Ichinomiya Pro Junior in Japan, so now I’ve got a ticket into the World Pro Junior, so it makes this win extra special,” Yahagi said. “I came to Nias prepared with surfboards to surf barreling waves, but I made the boards work for me even though the conditions were different. I think I did seven airs in the final; maybe it’s the most I’ve ever done in a heat, and getting a 9.33 was awesome. My strategy was first to sit with the other guys and get good waves, but after Tenshi (Iwami) got an 8, I decided to sit deeper and away from them and look for some sections to do some airs. I’m so happy it worked for me. Now I’m ready for the QS5000.”
In the women’s event, Cocona Kawase (JPN) was destined for the Final, but to claim the victory, she had to overcome a stacked field including Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN), Sumomo Satu (JPN), and Ella McCaffray (USA). Kawasi posted the Women’s Pro Junior highest score of 8.33 (out of a possible 10) earlier in her Semifinal Heat, for also the highest heat score of 14.83 (out of a possible 20 points).
“I’m really happy to win, as it’s been a long time since I have won a contest,” Kawase said. “This is my first WSL win, so it’s really the best thing to happen. I got a semifinal finish last year here at Nias, so it’s great for me to do better and get a win. It was difficult out there, as most of the waves were fat, so it was hard to find a steeper section, so I focused on trying to catch the set wave that offered up more. I’m also joining the QS5000 here, so winning this was great practice going up against all the other older, more experienced competitors, and winning is giving me a lot more confidence going into my next heat.”
All eyes will now shift to the Nias Pro Qualifying Series 5000 event, which will potentially start tomorrow. All competitors have been asked to be on standby at 7:00 a.m. for a possible 7:30 a.m. start local time.
The 2023 Nias Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 and Pro Junior events will run from September 11 – 17 at Lagundri Bay, Nias, Indonesia. For more information or to watch the event LIVE, head to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the Free WSL App.
The 2023 Nias Pro is supported and funded by the South Nias Government.