Stab Magazine | WSL has snipped the Pro Junior Age Cutoff for 2016
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WSL has snipped the Pro Junior Age Cutoff for 2016

They only want you when you’re seventeen. 

news // Mar 18, 2016
Words by Tom Freed
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Everybody knows that the best part about being a Senior in high school is capitalising on those previous three years of experience and built-up swagger. You got the school on lock and when given the choice, babes always trade-up instead of settling with a sophomore. That’s just fact.

The same can be said for the Pro-Juniors. Because every pro junior knows the best part about being 20 years old in a heat with a bunch of groms who just last month touched their first tittie, is flexing on them with the confidence of a man. Or as is the case of some Brazilians, the confidence of a year already on the CT.

You better believe guys like Joel Parko, A.I and, more recently, Jack Freestone milked that 20-year-old cutoff. And, the recently crowned World Juniors Champ, Lucas Silveira is 20.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/158519571

Just this year, the WSL abbreviated the age cutoff on the Junior tour from 20 to 18 and under. More specifically, a surfer must be 17-years-old before Dec, 31, 2015.

Apparently, this decision came abruptly and the Juniors didn’t have any say in the matter. But the kids should probably be used to that by now…

Big fuckin’ deal? Kinda, but kinda not. The new age cutoff is inconvenient for multiple reasons. One, winning the World Juniors gets you a great seed on the QS the following year, so that’s out the window for a lot of 18 year-olds turning 19 this year. This also forces those very kids to get on the QS at a younger age and, well, likely get hammered by the guys with a few more years of experience.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/fpd5Y_ELxUw

Another issue is the contracts. Many of these young, bright stars signed two/three year contracts geared toward winning the World Juniors, so those bonuses just went out the window.

“I can’t speak for the other kids, but I could see how the change could be problematic,” says California’s Jake Marshall. “For me, everything stayed the same. I’m 17 years old, so I’m still in the Juniors, but it’s a bummer for kids who are a year older than me and never got a chance to be the oldest one in the division. But I think more kids are qualifying and getting better at a younger age anyway, so the 18 and under cutoff also makes sense.”

After speaking with a few of the Juniors that got the memo, the main reasoning behind the WSL’s decision seemed to be due to the fact that too many CT guys like Gabriel Medina or Italo Ferreira were doing the World Juniors, so they wanted to make the tour more for up-and-coming kids that were not already established pros.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZanW54cA9BA

Who’s probably not psyched on the new rule? Heavy-hitters like Lucas Silveira, Victor Bernardo, Leo Fioravanti, Seth Moniz and Josh Moniz, to name a few.

Not everyone’s feeling the pain, though.

“It actually doesn’t affect me at all,” says California’s Griffin Colapinto.“ I’m actually stoked on the decision because I didn’t want to be the guy doing junior pro events until I’m 21 anyway, and now, I’m the oldest guy in them. Kinda worked out.”

Plus, 17’s the new 21, the kids will be alright. To the rest of those teenagers approaching the 2016 QS tour that didn’t get a chance to swing their Senior dicks: God speed, brave soldiers.

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