It was one year ago this week that Andrew Doheny reached the final heat of the Assn. of Surfing Professionals' World Junior Championships in Bali, Indonesia, finishing in second place in what was considered a breakthrough performance by the Newport Beach teen.
Last year's event in Bali was the first of three contests in the World Junior Championship Tour, but this year the World Junior Championship was condensed to one contest, and Doheny again got into position to win the title.
Doheny advanced through Round 1 despite a sub-par performance by placing second in his three-man heat, setting him for a Round 2 matchup against Brazil's Luan Carvalho.
But Doheny found his groove in Round 2 with a big performance, thanks to his ability to unleash a combination of moves on a single wave. He beat Carvalho, 15.00 to 5.30.
"The level of surfing at this event is so high," Doheny told aspworldtour.com. "I get nervous because everyone is so good. I was off my game in the first round, so it feels good to come back and have a good heat. I'm loving being in Bali, there's a lot of good rights and the people, food and everything are great."
Doheny was matched up against Hawaii's Koa Smith in Round 3 and again came up big, outscoring Smith 16.26 to 8.47.
In Round 4, Doheny edged out Hawaiian Keanu Asing, 15.57 to 13.10.
"That heat was gnarly," Doheny said. "I knew that Keanu is good with heat tactics and stuff, so my plan was to try and get the first good wave of the heat and it must have worked. I came second here last year and I want to do as good, if not better because this is my last year in the juniors."
The World Junior Tour is for surfers under 20, and Doheny is 19. With one more chance for a Junior crown, he next faced Cooper Chapman of Australia in the quarterfinals.
Doheny won, 14.77 to 12.67, putting him in the semifinals against Ezekiel Lau of Hawaii. But Doheny ran out of magic, losing to Lau in the semis, 15.20 to 7.50.
"I thought I'd be bummed," Doheny said. "But I'm actually really stoked! Even though I finished second here last year, I didn't expect to get as high as third this year. Ezekiel did what I like to do, he caught a bunch of waves and got into rhythm."
Jack Freestone beat Lau in the final heat to win the World Junior Championship, Doheny finishing equal third. Next up for Doheny is his attempt to join the ASP World Championship Tour.
Speaking of the ASP WCT, they're currently in Portugal for the Rip Curl Pro, the eighth event of the 10 contests on the tour. The top four surfers in the rankings were all still in it when a lay day was called on Tuesday.
Hawaii's John John Florence, currently No 4 in the standings, advanced through Round 3 with a win over South Africa's Travis Logie, despite suffering an injury earlier in the week.
"It wasn't too bad, just a couple cuts, a couple stitches on my head but it's all good," said Florence, 19. "I've never hit the bottom that hard on a wave and it was pretty scary at first, but it heals pretty fast I was glad I didn't have to surf a heat (the following day)."
No. 1 Joel Parkinson, No. 2 Kelly Slater and No. 3 Mick Fanning had yet to surf their Round 3 heats.
Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson is in 18th place in the tour standings, but also reached Round 3 against 18-year-old Brazilian phenom Gabriel Medina. Simpson went for it but came up short, falling 14.66 to 7.60.
"That was a tough heat against Brett," Medina said. "He surfed so well and I really thought he was going to get the scores on this last wave but he didn't make that last air so I'm stoked to make this one. That's an important round for me, I really want to get a good result over here."
JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.