Keely soaks up the pressure
TALK about making the most of an opportunity.
Mooloolaba's Keely Andrew was welcomed into the Australian representative team as a late replacement for Victorian young gun Nikki van Dijk, who withdrew from the team after securing a wildcard entry to the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic.
And the Northshore Boardriders Club member has pounced on the chance to compete for her country at the ISA World Junior Championships, which was held at Panama during the past week.
Among a hot field of the globe's best under-18 surfers, Andrew produced some eye-catching displays in the main draw before she was eventually relegated to the repechage rounds in round four.
It proved but a hiccup for Andrew, who easily won her repechage round six heat.
Then yesterday, she progressed through repechage round seven and then through repechage round eight, when she won her three-girl heat with a score of 12.04.
As one of eight remaining surfers, Andrew was expected to compete in the latter stages of the championships in the early hours of yesterday morning, starting with a heat including compatriot Bronte Macauley.
Meanwhile, the nerve-racking run of Moffat Beach surfer Eli Steele finally came to an end in the under-18 division yesterday.
The reigning national under-18 champion was relegated to the repechage rounds after finishing third in round two of the main draw almost a week ago.
Since then, Steele has had to finish first or second in all his heats.
He managed the feat on five successive occasions before finally falling short yesterday morning when he finished third in repechage a round seven heat also featuring Matheus Navarro (Brazil) and Jake Halstead (USA).
Steele claimed ninth spot to complement his 11th place finish from last year.
Wurtulla's Kai Hing bowed out of contention in the under-16 boys division on Saturday.
After being relegated to the repechage rounds in round two of the main draw, Hing survived four do-or-die heats before being eliminated in repechage round six to finish in a tie for 17th.