"This is my last year doing the Pro Juniors, so I'm starting to get my feet wet in the star events," Doheny told aspworldtour.com. "I'm lucky to have Vans, my sponsor, give me a wild card spot. Huntington can be a tricky spot, and having a better seed helps me secure some points.
"My goal is to do well in this event. It's near where I live and a win would be great and a good momentum-builder for the rest of the year."
Doheny has maintained a steady rise on the surfing circuit the past few years, meeting most challenges along the way, starting in high school contests.
He was a star in the National Scholastic Surfing Assn., becoming the second surfer in NSSA history to win back-to-back national Juniors titles when he won in 2007 and '08. He also won multiple NSSA regional titles.
But much of his success can be attributed to his laid-back attitude. Instead of stressing on long-range goals, Doheny just focuses on the incoming set. The ASP World Tour is the top level of pro surfing, and the most lucrative, but he'll get there when he gets there.
"I don't really think about it too hard," he said. "This is what I do, and success came out of it. I don't really have a set goal, just keep doing what I'm doing and let it take me where it takes me."
He had a ninth-place finish on the 2011 ASP World Junior Tour, which included a second-place finish in the Junior Tour opener in Bali. The ninth place also was the second best finish by an American (including Hawaiians), topped only by Santa Barbara's Conner Coffin.
The Vans Pier Classic is just another step, but a big one.
"I'm hoping to end my last year as a Pro Junior in a positive way," Doheny said.
There is a live webcast of the event at vans.com/pierclassic.
Another local surfer, Courtney Conlogue, continues to make waves as well. Conlogue, who grew up in Santa Ana but learned to surf in Huntington, is already on the ASP Women's World Tour.