Dean Bowen 

Dean Bowen served notice today that he could well be the next emerging young  Australian surfing star with an incredible display of powered precision surfing as he demolished the field to win the Australian under 18 Junior Surfing Title.

Throughout the event Bowen was the surfer to beat and he left nothing to chance in the final opening with an excellent 8.65, backing it up immediately with another excellent 8.75 and then at the half way point of the final sealing the deal with an outstanding 9.5 ride!

“ I have absolutely loved the waves here all week at Margaret River and it’s just so great to win an Australian Junior Title – Past winners like Parko (Joel Parkinson) and Tom Carroll went on to become legends of the sport and to win this event is really special” said an ecstatic Bowen after his win.

“It gets me into the world junior titles in Ecuador next year and I’m so looking forward to that event – To represent Australia there will be great and already I’m confident we can win – Australia has the best surfers as far as I’m concerned and we’ll be going there to show that to the world!”

Bowen’s massive tally of 18.25 out of a possible 20 left all his rivals chasing a combination of scores to try and catch him with Queensland’s Tim McDonald coming in 2nd on 14.25 followed by fellow south coast NSW surfer Jordi Watson on 13.5 and South Australia’s Khai Adams in 4th place on 9.75.

Bowen also complimented his big win today by scoring the events only perfect 10 point ride in his semi final and most who witnessed his performance this week are in no doubt the powerful and likeable goofy foot surfer has a big and immediate future in the sport along with a resemblance in style and power to Australia’s most recent champion goofy footer (right foot forward) surfer Mark Occhilupo!

The girls under 18 final was a far closer battle today. The lead see sawed throughout between the three dominant NSW girls and in the end Paige Haggerston (Coal Point/NSW/Newcastle) and Sth Coast NSW surfer Kirby Wright finished tied in first place on 14.10 with Haggerston getting the result on a countback due to a highest scoring ride of 7.35 to Wright’s 7.25.

“ I can’t belive I’ve won such a close final!” said Haggerston “I was struggling in last place half way through the final but then found a really good wave and put myself in contention – I just searched hard for a decent ride in the final 5 minutes and when I got one I knew I had to get another good score to defeat Kirby and somehow I’ve made it – It’s the best feeling!”

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Tyler Wright

Tyler Wright’s (NSW/Sth Coast/Culburra) amazing year continued today when she took out the Australian under 16 Girls Junior Title at Margaret River in Western Australia.

Wright, 14 years of age, earlier this year shocked the surfing world by becoming the youngest surfer to ever win an ASP World Tour event and while she was always expected to win this event today, no one would have predicted it would be by the absolute narrowest of margins of three hundredths of a point (0.03) or such a hard fought final for her to win.

Wright opened with a reasonably strong 5.75 ride early in the final to be in the lead but then made a very uncharacteristic error half way through when she was scored an interference over local West Australian surfer Mikalea Greene by taking off on the outside of Greene and affecting her scoring potential.

The interference penalty meant that Wright had her second scoring ride halved and her competitors seized the opportunity to exploit her weakness.

Mikalea Greene quickly found a strong 6 point ride to take the lead from Wright and with just minutes remaining in the final it looked like Wright was gone but she remained cool in the crisis, found a decent wave and was able to score the required 6.17 to snatch back the lead and take the victory.

“ That was a hard final to win, harder than the ASP event in Sydney a few months ago!” exclaimed Wright after her win.

“ I was a little too aggressive early in the final and that forced me to interfere but I always knew that I could still win despite the penalty. I was getting frustrated toward the end when I couldn’t find a decent wave but finally that right wave came to me and I managed to just get the score – it was a hard fought win.”

Wright went on to say “ The year has been amazing and to finish with an Australian Junior Title is very special – I’ll head off to Hawaii in a couple of days and start focusing and training hard for the ASP World Junior Titles in Sydney early next January – that’s my next goal”.

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CJ Hobgood conquers the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing 

Florida’s C.J. Hobgood, 29, won the ASP WQS 6-Star O’Neill World Cup of Surfing today in clean 20-to-30 foot wave face heights, making Hobgood the first goofy-footer in 11 years to win at Sunset Beach.

Australia’s Michael Romelese was the last goofy-footer to win at Sunset in 1997, he also won the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title the same year.

On his backhand, Hobgood, who was the 2001 ASP World Champ, charged his way to victory, gnabbing the biggest wave of the 35-minute final. Hobgood was blown away by his first place finish and the massive waves.

"It’s perfect size and really clean. There was probably one or two sets a heat that were too big," Hobgood said. "Just some macking nuts waves out there.

"My usual experience out at Sunset is just getting worked pretty much. This ranks up there with my WT wins and everything else because I never totally pictured myself winning this contest so it ranks that much higher.

"That just shows you what Sunset can do. You just roll the dice, go out and sometimes Mother Nature is good to you and other times it just beats you down.

"There’s four guys out there, but you never really see your competitors the whole time. It’s Man versus Nature out there and that’s what makes Sunset so challenging and appealing."

Hobgood avoided Sunset’s wrath and negotiated the giant walls of water beautifully, scoring an 8.5 and 6.5 rides to win the 6-Star Qualifying Series Event.

Australia’s Tom Whitaker, 29, also surfed well in the O’Neill World Cup of Surfing and finished runner-up. Whitaker was in awe of the quality of surf Sunset Beach produced today.

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