2017 Quiksilver Young Guns Surf
It started with a rumble
First thought? A Sumatran tiger prowling around and clawing at one of the many 5’7”s scattered around the property. Eh. Too far-fetched. It must be the swell then, validating all those whispers from West Oz, forcing the jagged reef out front into a tremble. Actually...that’s not supposed to be hitting yet. Damn. Turns out it’s just the dude in the next room snoring.

Oh well. It can be hard to distinguish between dream and reality here in this psychedelic jungle...
“You have to express yourself.
We’re judging the moment.”
Hoy’s criteria was damn clear. Expressing yourself is one thing when it comes to putting pen to paper or paint to canvas, but the Young Guns were tasked with putting board to wave in order to externalize something. Initially, every teenager in the world was challenged to woo Mikey Wright, Ezekiel Lau and Jeremy Flores with an air, turn or combo. After over a thousand kids stepped up, Mikey picked the top 10 airs, Zeke picked the top 10 turns and Jeremy picked the top 10 combos. Those 30 kids made edits and you, the public, voted for the top 5. Then Jeremy, Zeke and Mikey chucked in their favorites and we had ourselves a final.
“The waves were insane the whole time. I was tripping!”
Kade Matson.
Fifteen. San Clemente, USA
“I got drained. And I got smoked. Both were amazing.”
Dwight Pastrana
Sixteen. San Juan, Puerto Rico
“I just came to peg people with water balloons. Haha.”
Sandon Whittaker
Seventeen. Avoca Beach, Australia
“My favorite part of the trip? Probably all of it.”
Kyuss King
Seventeen. Byron Bay, Australia
“Every day you catch a wave on an inflatable Hello Kitty pool toy is a good day.”
Kehu Butler
Seventeen. Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
“The sea life here is stunning. I can’t believe how many sea turtles I saw.”
Kael Walsh
Seventeen. Yallingup, Australia
Should we run it?
Should we not run it?
$10K was on the line.
Let’s make them earn it.
Things get interesting when an artist’s canvas can hold them underwater for 15-seconds and bounce them across jagged reef. When it came time for the hour-long Super Final featuring the best aerialists, turners and comboers from the aforementioned heats — Kael Walsh, Sammy Pupo, Kade Matson and Kyuss King — the ocean wasn’t exactly in a playful mood. 6-8 foot waves thundered down the point, while the occasional wash-through turned the lineup into a furious milk bath.
“You’re out there,” said Hoy. “There are no rules, just go surf for an hour and the best surfer wins.”
Kyuss and Kade picked long waves and tagged them all the way through. Kael got barreled and squared up with sections that nobody else even looked at. You need more than a chunk of foam in order to attack a lip that wants to make your face bleed. You need attitude. The Great Hoy was pleased with this. But then, Sammy got the two largest waves of the heat and surfed them to complete perfection. Every single movement was in unison with the ocean. It was like a song you never want to end.
So, who won?
After three years of making the Young Guns Final, Sammy Pupo finally took the thing out.
Hoy paddled out with a $10K novelty check under his chest and the finalists met him in the channel. With the appropriate amount of ado, he announced the champ.

Everybody clapped and cheered and then got annihilated when the biggest set of the day stampeded into the shore pound. Sammy desperately tried to hang on to his check and the last board of his Sumatran quiver and inevitably snapped both.

After an explosion of laughter, the rest of the Young Guns put Sammy on their shoulders and chaired him up the beach. “This was the best contest ever,” he said from his perch, while his yard sale dragged behind him. Though, really, it never even felt like a contest at all.
“It’s so good to come here, see how everybody surfs and make new friends. This is the best Junior contest in the world.”
Sammy Pupo
Sixteen. Maresias, Brazil