- 04 September 2008 | Surfing
After an action packed finals day Lincoln Taylor has been crowned the winner of the inaugural Red Bull Junior Surf Masters. The innovative new event showcased the outstanding depth of talent in the Australian junior ranks and Taylor's victory did not come easily.
Taylor won three tight heats today including an exciting dual with dynamic south coast surfer Owen Wright in the final. Wright pulled off a huge air reverse early in the heat and had the lead until Taylor answered back with a long wave and a series of searing backside snaps.
On the winner's podium Taylor gratefully accepted the $10,000 winner's cheque and made a humble acceptance speech. "The conditions were pretty tricky out there and I was lucky to get the better waves in the final. It's been such an awesome event. It's the best set up I've seen for a junior surfing event."
Taylor, 20, is currently ranked second on the Australian Junior Series. "I don't have a sponsor at the moment so this is an awesome win for me," he said. "I'd like to have a crack at the World Qualifying Series next year and I'll use this prize money to help with my travel expenses."
Equal third today were Heath Joske (Coffs Harbour) and Chris Salisbury (Newport).
Red Bull Junior Surf Masters, presented by Mick Fanning, offers the biggest prize pool for an Australian junior event ($50,000) and introduced a brand new contest format called 'Torched'. The premise for the event was to support junior surfing at a grass roots level and to help talented young surfers achieve their dreams of succeeding as professional surfers.
Mick Fanning was a keen onlooker throughout the final three days and labeled the series a success. "I've been really impressed with the standard of surfing I've seen throughout the event," said the current ASP World Champion. "I've been talking with the competitors and they all seem happy with the series which is the main thing."
Surfing legend Ross Clarke-Jones along with new up-and-comer Pro Junior Julian Wilson, were also present signing autographs and cheering on competitors.
Red Bull's Athlete Manager, Anthony Macdonald hinted that Red Bull Junior Surf Masters may return and be bigger and better next year. "I think we were able to show that the Torched format is exciting for spectators and that it forces the surfers to really push their skill level. We hope to expand the event to include other states in 2009, but we can't confirm anything at this stage."
Manly's Stuart Blake sure hopes the series will become a regular event. The 16-year-old won Red Bull's online competition which enabled Blake and five of his friends VIP access to hang out with Mick Fanning. "This has been a dream come true for me," said Blake.
"I've wanted to meet Mick Fanning for five years. Yesterday I even got to surf with him! He's such a cool guy. I'll be entering the event next year for sure. I can't flipping wait!"