Brett Burcher 

Twenty-year old Brett Burcher (Ulladulla, NSW) went home with the richest takings on the Pro Junior surfing circuit today, earning a massive $10 000 after defeating Tahitian born Tamaroa McComb (Burleigh Heads) during the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Final presented by Mick Fanning at Cronulla.

In what couldn’t have been a more equally matched final, Burcher and McComb who advanced into the main event through the qualifying trials on Friday and went on to net the highest single wave scores throughout the two-day event, went toe to toe in a dramatic final that saw Burcher edge out McComb by the narrowest of margins. Burcher defeated McComb with a 15.65 heat total (out of 20.00) to McComb’s 15.25.

“I am so happy right now, this win is just huge for me,” Burcher said. “Tamaroa is an amazing surfer and he almost had me in that heat but I just kept my head and was lucky that I caught that set wave at the end.”

While Burcher took an early lead, a priority error around the halfway mark saw him slip into second place behind McComb who stormed ahead with an 8.50 (out of ten). It wasn’t until the final three minutes that Burcher stroked into one of the better looking waves of the afternoon - a long open-faced left hander - that allowed him four massive backhand snaps to earn an amazing 8.90 (out of 10.00)  to become the 2009 Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Champion.

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Tiago Pires 

With the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Azores Islands Pro crowning its champion tomorrow, all remaining surfers were psyched today to deliver their best performance and keep the title chase alive, knowing a win in this first ever ASP sanctioned event in the Azores would go down in surfing history books. From current ratings’ leaders to the few remaining outsiders, performance went through the roof today with massive airs and power surfing displayed by the variety of styles seen in the water, rising stars shining along with experienced soldiers.

Today’s action took the event down to its final-four contenders, the remaining heats of Round 4 being followed by the eight battles of Round 5 before moving into the exciting Quarterfinals where the levels of surfing left everyone breathless, wrapping-up an intense show, with Tiago Pires (Ericeira, PRT) dominating the day in the final bout against ASP World Junior champion Kai Barger (HAW) with a 18.00 point heat total.

Pleasing his Portuguese fans, the current ASP Top 45 member, 28, closed the show with a series of 8.50 and 9.50 point rides, the national surf star a.k.a the Portuguese Tiger advancing through to the Semifinals where he will be the favorite. Pires, who had scored the only perfect 10.00 point ride of the event earlier in the day, was in unstoppable form getting an immense support from the hundreds of spectators on the beach to keep his roll going before tomorrow’s showdown.

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Mark Richardson 

As the curtain closed on the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival nine Australian Surfmasters Titles were awarded at Lighthouse Beach today.

Having seen 344 competitors in 260 heats over the past two weeks with 23 Australian Titles handed out, the final day of competition was certainly one to remember.

Led by some amazing performances from a host athletes the biggest amateur surfing event in the country closed with a bang,

Mark Richardson (Palm Beach, QLD) was the king of Lighthouse Beach today, taking home his third Australian Title in the Open Men division.

“I’m lost for words,” the 37-year-old said, brimming from ear-to-ear.

“To have beaten the likes of my fellow finalists is something I’ll remember forever.”

Defeating Josh Johnson-Baxter (VIC), Eli Criaco (Coolum, QLD) and Jirrah Laws (VIC), who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Richardson was in amazing form from the get-go.

“The level of surfing in this event was first class,” he continued.

“I wasn’t even good enough to qualify for the Queensland team and here I am with the Aussie flag draped around me!”

Fellow Queenslander Dimity Stoyle (Buderim, QLD) continued where she left off yesterday with a commanding performance en-route to her maiden crown.

“I can’t believe I won my first Australian Title,” said the 17-year-old with glee.

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