Tamaroa McComb 

Tahitian giant killer Tamaroa McComb (Coolangatta, formerly Tahiti) has made the perfect start to the Queensland leg of the ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series, taking out the coveted Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior crown in 1-1.5-metre surf on the Gold Coast today.

Burleigh Heads provided the ideal forum for the final day of competition, with hundreds of people watching on as Australia and the world’s hottest 20-years and under surfers went head-to-head in search of junior series glory.

16-year-old McComb lived up to his reputation as surfing’s next big thing, blasting past no.2 seed Julian Wilson (Coolum) in the day’s quarter-finals, NSW whiz kid Heath Joske (Nambucca Heads) in the semis before dispatching of top seed Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head) in the championship final.

"My win hasn’t really sunk in yet.. It feels great to finally win a Pro Junior event," said McComb. "Surfing against this caliber of guys really made my victory more special. It’s such a great wave and I was just out there having fun."

McComb was at his dominating best, showcasing an innovative mix of exciting new school maneovures and powerful rail carves to collect $6,000, 3300 rating points along with an all-important wildcard spot into the trials of the World Tour event at Trestles, California in ’08.

Showing no signs of nerves in the highly anticipated 35-minute final, McComb raised the bar, bouncing back from a slow start to bag a 7.83 and an 8.93 to finish with a two-wave combination of a 16.76 (out of a possible 20) to Kennedy’s 15.70.

The Tahitian has moved into a new pad at Coolangatta, just down the road from the Superbank and Kirra, with shaper and renowned big wave surfer Dylan Longbottom.

He now plans to live between the Gold Coast and his home on the French Polynesian island of Huahine, in between an extensive international competition schedule.

Kennedy, who won the opening pro junior of the year in Victoria, strengthened his pro junior series ratings lead with his runner-up finish today. There he sits on top with 8338 points, nearly 2000-points clear of Nick Riley (Fairlight) in second with McComb (6219) in third.

"I had a bit of a shocker out there today... I fell on a few waves and couldn’t capatilise on the sets," said Kennedy. "I’ve got a first, a second and a fifth from the opening three events so I couldn’t of asked for a better start to the year."

Finishing equal third today was Nambucca Head’s Heath Joske and Sawtell’s Billy Kean. Kean’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.

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 contest in the multidisciplinary battle.

Source: ASP Australasia