Alex Dive (NZL) taking one of the waves of the day at Rangiroa, French Polynesia last April. Pic ASP/Will H-S
COOLANGATTA, QLD/Australia (Wednesday, October 31, 2012) – Two of New Zealand’s finest junior surfers Alex Dive and Johnny Hicks graduate from the pro juniors and prepare to embark on a qualifying mission.
New Zealand professional surfing is a golden era, aside from when Maz Quinn qualified for the ASP World Championship Tour back in 2001, right now is the most exciting time to be a Kiwi surfing fan. Paige Hareb is preparing for her fourth year on the women’s WCT. And now, these two up-and-comers, Dive and Hicks are setting their sights on lighting up the world stage with their unique brand of surfing all while representing the land of the long white cloud.
On the men’s side of things NZ has a tight knit crew including; Jay Quinn, Billy Stairmand, and Richard Christie, all talented surfers trotting the globe posting results at the ASP Prime and 6-Star events and it’s only a matter of time before one of them cracks the elite Top 34. Divey and Johnny, will soon join their countrymen and will no doubt benefit from the knowledge and experience of travelling with this more experienced group.
“I really think New Zealand has a lot of talent right now,” Dive said. “Kiwi’s are known for being laid back sort of people, but I also think we’re getting known for being pretty competitive too. The guys doing the qualifying events are getting good results all over the place, and there are a lot of exciting young kids coming up in NZ. It’s not going to be long before we have a Kiwi on the Men’s WCT.”
In April Dive and Hicks ventured to Rangiroa, French Polynesia for the final event of their junior careers. The island is remote and only 16 kilometers long and only 50 meters wide at some points. It is paradise. The only downside of this place is that there’s only one wave on the island, but oh boy what a wave it is.
“It was an awesome trip,” explained Dive. “It was great to have a competition in great waves at a remote location like that. It didn’t really feel like a junior event because we were treated to such a unique surf spot.”
On the western tip of the long/skinny isle is a reef-pass capable of producing perfect Pacific right-hand pits. Depending on the tide you may be sitting up or down the reef, both sections offer open dredging barrels, but beware – this place is shallow and sharp.
“We got there a day or two before the comp and it was pumping,” said Dive. “The only problem was that our boards didn’t arrive. The planes are small and normally it wouldn’t be a problem, but with 60-something junior surfers all travelling with three or four boards each, some boards got left behind. It was just lucky for us Kiwis that Ratso (Ian Buchanan) was the head judge and he leant us all boards.”
The day before the competition started the surf was a near perfect six foot, with the occasional bigger set. On borrowed equipment Dive and Johnny were two of the standouts, catching all the bombs and threading the tube with ease.
“It’s great travelling with Johnny,” Dive said. “He’s real easy going and a lot of fun to be around. We travelled to most of the pro juniors together this year and it was great. It gave us a taste of what it’s going to be like next year when we enter the ASP Star events around the world.”
Dive has been using the back half of 2012 to get some study time under his belt at University, but plans on hitting the ASP Prime and Star events next year.