Mick Fanning free surfs during the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Trials 

The finalists for this year’s Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Final presented by Mick Fanning were decided in clean contestable surf at North Cronulla today, with just ten of the 24 qualifiers advancing into the main event tomorrow.

Attended by 2009 ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (Tweed Heads, NSW), the trials saw determined performances from Australia’s top emerging junior surfers with Tamaroa McComb (Coolangatta, QLD), Noah Lane (Rainbow Beach, QLD), Ty Watson (Currorong, NSW), Dane Atchison (Copacabana, NSW), Cooper Chapman (North Narrabeen, NSW), David Vlug (NSW), Mitch Crews (QLD), Brett Burcher, Sam Lendrum (Nords Wharf, NSW) and Jake Sylvester (Coolangatta, QLD) advancing into the main event.

Competing in grueling 70 minute heats, the ten advancing surfers outclassed the competition to avoid elimination in the unique ‘Torched’ format that saw the lowest scoring surfer eliminated from the event in 25, 20, and 10 minute intervals, until just two surfers remained.

Conceptualised by Fanning himself, the event is the only one of its kind to utilise this format, presenting a new challenge to young competitors.

“I like that it’s only one wave counting so there’s no time to sit there and try and tap it all the way to the beach, you have to go all out on every wave ” explained Fanning. “This is definitely a stepping stone for the WQS and the kids really seem to be enjoying the contest and the new format and that’s our goal.”

Tahitian born surfer Tamaroa McComb set the benchmark for the day’s performances, emerging as the top scorer with his incredible 9.75 ride (out of a possible ten) to earn the first of the day’s slots into the main event.

“I’m stoked I made it, it was pretty hard and I’m feeling really tired now,” said McComb. “It definitely gets better heat by heat as you warm up and I was just making sure I went on waves I could do three maneuvers on.”

Werri Beach Red Bull Surf Masters top qualifier Ty Watson maintained his recent winning form to advance in first place during the second heat of the day ahead of Dane Atcheson and shared McComb’s sentiments.

“It’s definitely tiring and you have to have some stamina and make sure you drink plenty of water before you go out there. I’m pretty buggered but glad I made it through. I made the trials here last year so I’m just hoping I go better in the main event.”

Fifteen-year-old Cooper Chapman stole the crowds attention by becoming the youngest advancing surfer, the North Narrabeen resident locking in a solid 7.85 (out of ten) to advance ahead of David Vlug.

“I’m so happy, I really wasn’t expecting much but I really enjoyed the format its great that Red Bull are putting on another awesome comp. The waves were pretty small but you could get some really fun ones if you picked the right ones,” Champman said.

Mitch Crews was another standout with a powerful performance that saw him  build momentum as he went posting a 7.90 ahead of Brett Burcher who advanced with a 7.50. The pair edged out an on form Ellis Ericson who narrowly missed out with his 7.00.

The final heat of the day saw Sam Lendrum advance ahead of Jake Sylvester.

The ten advancing surfers will take on ten-wildcard surfers hand picked by Mick Fanning tomorrow.

“I saw some great performances today with kids I’ve never even heard of making it through their heats,” Fanning said. “There are so many good young surfers nowadays so it was really tough to pick just ten but having kids like 15-year-old Cooper (Chapman) making it through is exactly why we have the qualifiers so that they can all come through and have a chance.”

The Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Final is the culmination of a six part series that saw the top four surfers from events at Werri Beach, Curl Curl, Bar Beach, the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Bondi Beach advance into this weekend’s trials.

The winner will be decided on Sunday August 30, 2009. The prize money purse is $ 45, 000. For more information log on to www.redbulljuniorsurfmasters.com.au


SOURCE: Surfing Australia