Australian surfer Owen Wright (Lennox Head, NSW) has began the 2009 ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series in perfect style, taking out the season-opening Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior in tricky 2-3ft (0.5-0.8m) point break waves on the Gold Coast today.
On a day when Australians celebrate our great country, Wright made certain an Aussie lifted the prestigious junior crown, recording a two-wave combined total of 18.50 (out of a possible 20) to outclass Brazilian Miguel Pupo in an exciting, man-on-man final.
A thrilled Wright said winning his first Burleigh crown was made extra special by the Australia Day festivities.
“I dug deep and did Australia proud,” said Wright.
“My friends and family were all on the hill supporting me, so I felt like I was due for a win. I think I did myself proud as well.”
Burleigh Heads yet again provided the ideal forum for the final day of competition, with a mass of people lining the point as the world’s hottest 20-years and under surfers went head-to-head in search of junior series glory.
Wright, 19, lived up to his reputation as one of the brightest young surfing prospects in the world, blasting past defending event champion and no.2 seed Tamaroa McComb (Central Coast) in the quarters, U/18 World Junior champion Alejo Muniz (Brazil) in the semis before dispatching of Pupo in the championship final. "
The lanky goofy foot, who has only recently relocated from Culburra on the New South Wales South Coast to the right had point break of Lennox Head, proved unstoppable in the extended 30-miunte final, flexing his superior competition repertoire to setup victory with a pair of 9.25’s.
Despite Pupo hitting back with an 8.90 late in the exchange, Wright held on for a decisive victory.
Final scores: Wright (18.50) def Pupo (14.90).
Wright said he was pleased to snare victory from the international contingent after his disappointing world juniors’ campaign earlier this month in Narrabeen.
“I’m stoked to bag a win after getting knocked out by an international surfer at the world juniors,” he said.
“They’ve really been serving it up to us over the last few events, so to get one over them is awesome. I guess I just peaked at the right time.”
Finishing equal third today was Australian Sam Wrench (Ulludulla) and Brazilian Alejo Muniz. Wrench’s semi-final finish today represents his highest placed finish at an ASP Australasian rated event and he will be looking to feed off this result when action continues at the next chapter of the series on North Stradbroke Island next week.
In semi final one, Pupo ended Wrench’s dream of a maiden Pro Junior win, netting a semi-winning total of 13.60 to book a spot in the final.
Semi final two was a one-sided affair, with Wright leading from start to finish to send Muniz packing from the prestigious tournament.
Not so lucky were Brent Savage (Casuarina), Chris Friend (Twin Waters), Dean Bowen (Gerroa) and Tamaroa McComb (Central Coast), who all finished in equal 5th.
The Hurley Burleigh Battle was also staged today at the contest site to coincide with Australia Day. The battle saw surfers divided along state lines to compete in a team style format to determine which is the strongest in pro junior surfing. Six teams of two surfers competed over four, 30-minute heats. Teams were from Australian states (QLD, NSW, VIC, WA, SA) along with a sole international team.
Team members were judged on their highest scoring ride, plus a “shared” wave, where surfers from the same team have to ride a wave together. The concept was created to encourage teams to work together, and judging was set up to favour teams that have both surfers on the same wave-face, surfing in the same direction at the same time.
The action didn’t stop there with teams slugging it out across a Ping-Pong tournament as well as a Pie Eating showdown.
The next stop on the 2009 ASP Australasian Junior Series will be the Oakley Pro Junior which begins on February 3rd.
The Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior is proudly supported by, Nike 6.0, Electric Sunglasses, Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski, Australia’s Surfing Life Magazine, ASP Australasia and Surfing Queensland.
Quarter 1: Sam Wrech (10.00) def Brent Savage (7.00)
Quarter 2: Miguel Pupo (13.50) def Chris Friend (10.10)
Quarter 3: Alejo Muniz (14.25) def Dean Bowen (8.50)
Quarter 4: Owen Wright (16.00) def Tamaroa McComb (13.75).
Semi 1: Miguel Pupo (13.60) def Sam Wrench (11.35)
Semi 2: Owen Wright (17.00) def Alejo Munzi
Final: Owen Wright (18.50) def Miguel Pupo (14.90)
SOURCE: Surfing Australia