Owen Wright 

Australian surfer Owen Wright (Lennox Head, NSW) has began the 2009 ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series in perfect style, taking out the season-opening Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior in tricky 2-3ft (0.5-0.8m) point break waves on the Gold Coast today.

On a day when Australians celebrate our great country, Wright made certain an Aussie lifted the prestigious junior crown, recording a two-wave combined total of 18.50 (out of a possible 20) to outclass Brazilian Miguel Pupo in an exciting, man-on-man final.

A thrilled Wright said winning his first Burleigh crown was made extra special by the Australia Day festivities.

“I dug deep and did Australia proud,” said Wright.

“My friends and family were all on the hill supporting me, so I felt like I was due for a win. I think I did myself proud as well.”

Burleigh Heads yet again provided the ideal forum for the final day of competition, with a mass of people lining the point as the world’s hottest 20-years and under surfers went head-to-head in search of junior series glory.

Wright, 19, lived up to his reputation as one of the brightest young surfing prospects in the world, blasting past defending event champion and no.2 seed Tamaroa McComb (Central Coast) in the quarters, U/18 World Junior champion Alejo Muniz (Brazil) in the semis before dispatching of Pupo in the championship final. "

The lanky goofy foot, who has only recently relocated from Culburra on the New South Wales South Coast to the right had point break of Lennox Head, proved unstoppable in the extended 30-miunte final, flexing his superior competition repertoire to setup victory with a pair of 9.25’s.

Despite Pupo hitting back with an 8.90 late in the exchange, Wright held on for a decisive victory.

Final scores: Wright (18.50) def Pupo (14.90).

Wright said he was pleased to snare victory from the international contingent after his disappointing world juniors’ campaign earlier this month in Narrabeen.

“I’m stoked to bag a win after getting knocked out by an international surfer at the world juniors,” he said.

“They’ve really been serving it up to us over the last few events, so to get one over them is awesome. I guess I just peaked at the right time.”

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Brighton Marina 

A planning application has been submitted for a 5-storey office building which would straddle the eastern wall of the Brighton Marina and require the driving of 186 piles to create a concrete platform to the east of the Marina.

In view of the height above sea-level of the pile-supported platform the visual impact will be similar to that of an eight storey block (the height of Marine Gate flats).

The development would provide 7933 square metres of office space (for 620 employees), 274 square metres of retail space and nine 3-bed flats. No affordable housing is apparently proposed, and the flats would appear to be unsuitable for family occupation.

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2009 ASP Dream Tour 

The 2009 ASP World Tour is set to commence in just over a month, and the ASP Top 45 is looking set and shaping up to be one of the most explosive the world has ever seen.

Nine-times ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 36, will be back to hunt down ASP World Title No. 10, but standing in his way will be the best of the best.

Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, and fellow top seeds Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, and C.J. Hobgood (USA), 29, will lead the rest of the ASP Top 45 in their respective bids to put a stop to the Slater juggernaut.

The official withdrawals of the Irons brothers and the acceptance of replacement surfers are in place, and the 2009 ASP Top 45 are finally locked in.

Roy Powers (HAW), 27, will be replacing Bruce Irons (HAW), 29, who finished No. 20 on last season’s ASP World Tour but will be retiring from full-time competition in 2009. Despite the withdrawal from the Dream Tour, Irons will pursue wildcard entries into events.

Michael Campbell (AUS), 34, former ASP World No. 2, will replace former three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), 30, on the 2009 ASP World Tour. Irons the elder will be taking 2009 to recuperate and has been awarded the ASP Wildcard for the 2010 ASP World Tour.

“Andy Irons requested and was granted an ASP Tour wildcard for 2010,” Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, ASP President, said. “Andy cited personal reasons for not participating in the full tour in 2009, however he may participate in certain pet events as an event wildcard. All stakeholders, being the surfers, the Events Council and ASP Management, were supportive of Andy’s request, and the ASP Board of Directors ratified this arrangement officially.”

“Andy will be sorely missed in 2009 and we look forward to him contending again from 2010,” Bartholomew said. “Each year, three tour wildcards are issued, they are for injury, they are sometimes granted to next in line WQS and they are also granted to former ASP World Champions or someone held in high esteem.”

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