O'Neill Cold Water Classic South Africa 

The quality of the first day of surfing reinforced this. The ride of the day came from Japanese surfer Yujiro Tsuji, who pulled into a 4 second tube ride that had looked to be impossible. The line of spectators gathered on the cliffs above, were cheering him on as he came up from the beach with the top score of the day of a 9.5.

The South African stars shone on this first day of their hometown event – and among them was O’Neill’s South African marketing manager and former WCT surfer Paul Canning.

“It was great to be in the water and look at the event and the cliffs from there,” said Paul. There’s definitely a lot less pressure when you are surfing your own event. I usually would get really stressed out before my heat but now it was just good to get in the water.”

Also among the South African talent was Grant Arendse. The 18 year old from False Bay here on the Cape Peninsula was one of eight surfers from the Surfing South Africa’s transformation and development program, who were granted wildcards by O’Neill into this 4-Star ASP WQS competition.

Although narrowly missing out on a spot in the round of 96, Grant was stoked to be part of the event. “Surfing is about having fun,” he said. Grant, who started surfing at the age of 10, has been involved in the program for the past six years. “It helps with coaching as well as all the equipment and travel which I wouldn’t be able to afford myself,” he said. “My level of surfing has improved so much. Even today it was just great to get in the water with some really good surfers and make them work a bit for their waves.”

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David Vlug 

David Vlug (Narrabeen, NSW) claimed the opening qualifier Red Bull Junior Surf Masters event of 2009 today, with a commanding performance at Curl Curl.

After a boom inaugural year in 2008, the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters heralded it’s return, back and bigger than ever, with some cracking performances by the Northern Beaches best.

Endorsed by 2007 ASP World Tour Champion Mick Fanning, today it was Vlug who took the spoils of victory. “I’m so stoked with the win,” Vlug said after reveling in the tricky conditions.

Highlighted by rain squalls, heavy gusts and on-shore winds, the day resembled a nightmare on land, but with the best juniors on the Northern Beaches tearing the shifting peaks apart, the crowd was treated to some blistering action in the water.

“The conditions were definitely tough, but they were tough for everyone so there was no advantage out there,” he added modestly, after taking the final with a combined heat total of 7.64 (out of a possible 20).

Defeating Cooper Chapman (North Narrabeen, NSW), Blake Levett (Manly, NSW) and James Lange (Avalon, NSW), who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Vlug was the standout competitor throughout the event.

Racking up the two highest combined heat totals, a 14.26 and 16.24 (out of a possible 20) in the semi-final and quarter final, Vlug was a deserved champion.

“I felt super confident going into the event,” he said with the winner’s medal draped around his neck.

“Having made the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters final last year I am extremely focussed on returning back to that level of competition,” he added. “It’s where I want to be.”

To be held across NSW and QLD this June, July and August, The Red Bull Junior Surf Masters, presented by Mick Fanning, allows tomorrows stars an opportunity to launch their surfing careers, something that Chapman admires about the Series.

“For the younger competitors these events allow us to compare, compete and test ourselves against the older guys,” the 15 year-old said after finishing second.

A series of six qualifying events will take place in various beaches including Curl Curl, Newcastle, Werri Beach, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Bondi with the finals being held in Cronulla.

“I am happy with my result today and am stoked to be going to Cronulla to take on the best from NSW and Queensland.”

With plenty of awesome giveaways for each participant and the total prize pool for the Series is over $45,000; with the first prize being the biggest ever awarded for a junior surf event in Australia, the incentive is there for the next crop.

“It’s a great initiative and one which really encourages the promotion of junior surfing within NSW,” said Surfing NSW CEO, Mark Windon.

Today is a perfect example of the high-standard of talent that resides within NSW and with the backing of Mick Fanning and Red Bull hopefully these event’s will produce the next world champion.”

With the top four surfers from each event (24 surfers in total) invited to battle it out at the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Trials to be held in Cronulla on Friday, 28th August, the rest of the Series will be intense as next week sees Newcastle playing host.

Red Bull Junior Surf Masters Event Schedule

Event #1 - 20 June, 2009 – Curl Curl Beach
Event #2 - 27-28 June – Newcastle
Event #3 - 11 June – Werri Beach
Event #4 – 22 August – Bondi Beach

Mavericks 

Mavericks Surf Ventures, Inc. (Mavericks) announced today that the upcoming 2009/2010 big-wave season at Mavericks will honor and celebrate the 35th anniversary of Jeff Clark’s first session at the now world-famous break.  In the winter of 1975, then-17 year-old Clark first paddled out to the nautical hazard named after a white haired German Shepherd. 

In a remarkable personal odyssey, Clark then surfed Mavericks completely alone for 15 years before the news media began reporting on the 50-foot waves, house-sized rocks, and bone chilling waters that characterize this treacherous locale. 

From those solitary beginnings, Mavericks has become an international phenomenon.  The annual Mavericks Surf Contest® brings the world’s preeminent big-wave surfers together on 24 hours’ notice, along with tens of thousands of spectators and millions more who watch the action via television broadcast and webcast.  Adding to the drama, the contest is completely dependent on the whim of Mother Nature delivering contest-worthy surf conditions. 

Some years – as happened this past season – she holds back, as if to give the surfers another year to reconsider their perilous intent.  Over the years, the Mavericks prize purse has grown to $150,000, the largest in the history of big-wave surfing competition.  In the 2009/2010 season, the invitees will be competing for this record prize purse, thanks to the support of Moose Guen and Jane Sutherland of MVision Private Equity Advisors, and Barracuda Networks.

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