Imogen Sills 

Breezes gusting over 40 knots made racing an impossibility on day five of the 2009 IWA Junior, Youth and Masters World Championships at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).

Although the RYA Events-run Championship has basked in glorious sunshine all day today (Friday 28 August), the average wind speed rarely dropping below 30 knots meant the sailors were consigned to the shore before the call was made to abandon racing at around 3pm.

It means that the race for the 2009 IWA Junior, Youth and Masters World Championships titles go down to the wire with all medal positions being decided on what is set to be a thrilling final day of racing tomorrow.

Britons currently head the pack in three of the six Championship title races.

Sam Sills leads the Techno boys’ Under 17s contest by seven points, Kieran Martin boasts a six-point advantage at the top of the boys’ Under 15 leaderboard and Sills’ identical twin sisters Imogen and Saskia are locked in a head-to-head battle for the girls’ Under 15 crown, Imogen currently just a point ahead of her sister in first place.

Italy’s Veronica Fanciulli has a nine-point lead in the girls’ Under 17 competition meanwhile Olivier Pinlou, one of four Frenchmen nestled in the top five placings, is in pole position in the Raceboard Youth division. Britain’s newly-crowned RS:X Youth World Champion Izzy Hamilton remains the top ranked female.

With three races still required before the second discard kicks in for the Raceboard Masters, Joao Rodrigues’ (POR) position at the head of fleet looks marginally more comfortable as the biggest threat to his title challenge, Nikos Kaklamanakis (GRE), still needs to lose one more Did Not Compete (DNC) score to be in with the chance of toppling Rodrigues from the perch on which he has sat all week.

Tom Naylor (GBR) in fourth overall is the highest placed Grand Master, Jean Asia (FRA) in ninth the highest ranked Veteran and Annette Kent (GBR) in 20th the top female.

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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.

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Dion Atkinson 

It was another day of intense competition for the Azores Islands Pro, fifteen heats being completed in four foot (1.2 meter) tricky conditions where patience and heat tactics made a clear difference. While the event moved into its last twenty-four-man round today after completing Round 3, some exciting clashes took place at Ribeira Grande as the number of potential title contenders dropped again from fourty-eight to twenty-two. As two days only remain before the first ever Azores Islands Pro champion is crowned, the weekend showdown is already guaranteed to deliver world-class levels of surfing.

While current ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) leaders were advancing easily through to Round 4 of competition, elite ASP Top 45 members Heitor Alves (BRA), Aritz Aranburu (EUK), Nic Muscroft (AUS) and Drew Courtney (AUS) were all eliminated. Leaving no chance to their opponents today were much expected surfers Jadson Andre (BRA) and Dion Atkinson (AUS), the two men ruling proceedings with the best heat results of the day to advance through their respective battles.

Jadson Andre (BRA), 19, a surfing prodigy that appeared on the international stage last year, struck again today to secure his Round 4 berth with a solid 15.76 point total ahead of Yadin Nicol (Western Australia, AUS). Andre, renowned for his spectacular progressive surfing, popped up a couple of flying maneuvers to set pace during his thirty-minute game posting an 8.17 point ride to seal the deal and find himself amongst the last twenty contenders for the crown.

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