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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Triple Crown of Surfing 2008

It was a tough day for all O’Neill World Cup of Surfing competitors at Sunset Beach today and Round 4 of the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Prime event was completed in 15 to 20 foot (5 to 7 meter) waves.

Eric Rebiere (FRA), 29, a former ASP World Tour member, was the only one of seven European surfers to tame the massive sets coming in at the world famous location of Sunset Beach to advance through to Round 5 of the final event of the year.

Rebiere, who eliminated fellow Frenchman and current ASP World Tour No. 10 Jeremy Flores (FRA) as well as Irish charger Glenn Hall (IRE), found two solid waves to secure his Round 5 ticket ahead of Phillip MacDonald (AUS).

"It is big out there and I usually like it when it is like that," Rebiere said. "I hurt my back four days ago and I haven’t been able to surf apart from my heats so I am pretty stoked to make it through."

While current ASP World Tour Europeans Flores, Miky Picon (FRA) and Tiago Pires (PRT) all bowed out today, pressure was upon German surfer Marlon Lipke (DEU) who had to get through his heat to keep any 2009 Dream Tour hope alive.

Unfortunately, the German ripper was not able to find a good enough back-up ride and was eliminated by Hawaiian Hank Gaskell (HAW) and former ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood (USA) in Round 4.

Lipke, who s back to No. 16 after today, now depends on a few other surfers’ results to still have a chance to make it to the 2009 ASP Top 45 and several scenarios can happen.

If Patrick Gudauskas (USA) gets an equal 13th at Sunset Beach, Lipke will move back one spot in the ratings. If Yadin Nicol (AUS) places 4th or better or Dion Atkinson (AUS) finishes runner-up, the German surfer will move back as well.

However, if Lipke remains No. 16 after Sunset Beach, a big result from fellow European Tiago Pires at the Billabong Pipeline Masters could give the Portuguese surfer a double qualification ticket leaving one more spot for the WQS campaigners sitting on the bubble.

The surf is supposed to remain as big in the next couple of days and Eric Rebiere will be at ease in the solid waves. He will surf in Heat 7 of Round 5 against Hawaiian chargers Ian Walsh (HAW) and Kamalei Alexander (HAW) and Kirk Flintoff (AUS).

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Dimitri Maramenides, the founder and owner of Epic Kites, rode his kite a few hours before Hurricane Florence hit the East Coast of the United States.

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