For those in our sport who enjoy spotting the super stars of the future, Melbourne's Yarra River was definitely the place to be today. Junior Moomba is an enormous test for these 18 and younger athletes. Success here is both a major triumph and a clear signal for the future.
A few names really caught attention today. How about Erika Lang USA aged 15 and Anna Gay USA aged just 11 ! In Girls Tricks, they competed against 18 year olds. Erika scored 8550 and 6500 in her two rounds to take the gold medal. Young Anna scored 5560 and 4870 to take the silver medal ahead of Lauren Morgan USA. Watch out for these in the years ahead. The Boys also delivered outstanding results. Joshua Briant AUS, a previous Junior Moomba Tricks winner, did not let a back strain prevent him from scoring 8320 and 9700 points to take the gold medal and set an Australian Record - just ahead of Tim Bradstreet AUS with 7690 and 9510 points. Archie Davis AUS took third place.
In Slalom, the results were also very impressive. In Girls, Makayla Haw USA was in a league of her own with a gold medal score of 0.5 buoys on the 12m line - a full pass ahead of Australia's super star, Jacinta Carroll. Jacinta went on to take the Jump gold medal later. In Boys Slalom, Tim Bradstreet AUS, current World Junior Tricks and Jump Champion, took the gold medal with a score of 1 Buoy on the 11.25m line. Joshua Briant AUS had to settle for the silver medal with a score of 4 Buoys on the 12m line - ahead of Jason Miller AUS.
In Jump, the big names did it yet again. Tim Bradstreet took the Boys title with a distance of 58.8m and Jacinta clocked 48m to take her gold medal.
Clearly, we are looking at emerging greatness here. The names of Erika Lang USA, Anna Gay USA, Joshua Briant AUS, Tim Bradstreet AUS, Makayla Haw USA and Jacinta Carroll AUS will certainly be at the top of the Open Divisions very soon.
To finish off today, Night Jump started at sunset and finished under floodlights. Earlier in the day, James Sheldon from Geelong south of Melbourne and Australia's Overall U17 champion, was just beaten by Joshua Briant AUS into second place in Jump. Tonight, James took his revenge in total darkness ! His distance of 42.5m was enough to win the first Night Jump event of the week. Congratulations James Sheldon.
Back on the water tomorrow Friday with Round 1 of Open Women Slalom.
Reported by Des Burke-Kennedy