Reigning ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series champion Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head) is through to round five of the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior, advancing through his tight round four heat at Burleigh Heads today.

Bouncing back from a slow start to the opening event of this year’s junior tour, Kennedy went big throughout the extended 25-minute heat, throwing out multiple fins-free, above-the-lip moves to finish in second behind Bondi’s Perth Standlick (12.45) with a 12.30 two-wave combined total.

While the waves dropped off throughout the day to a contestable 2ft (0.7m), the performance level continued to soar with competitors going toe-to-toe in the race for the final 24 positions in the draw.

World junior champion Kai Barger (Hawaii) lived up to expectation, posting the morning’s highest individual wave score (9.5) to book a place in round four.

19-year-old Barger, who won surfing’s junior world titles by defeating event favourite Jadson Andre (Brazil) at North Narrabeen in Sydney in early January, finished second in his heat to progress behind Jesse Adam (Newcastle).

Culburra’s Owen Wright was just as impressive in round four, throwing caution to the wind to storm through to round five contention.

Going from strength-to-strength, Wright nailed a pair of solid scoring 8s to finish with a heat-winning tally of 16.30 (out of a possible 20).

He’ll now take on U/18 boys’ Australian champion Dean Bowen (Gerroa) and world juniors runner-up Jadson Andre (Brazil) when round five of competition kicks off tomorrow.

The Gold Coast’s highest seeded surfer Mitch Crews (Currumbin) wasn’t so lucky today, eliminated in his round four heat.

In strange circumstances, Crews broke two boards in the space of 10-minutes to score an early exit from the opening event of the year.