ASP Men's & Women's Star Event
Chiko Pro Junior 4-Star Junior Men's & Women's event
Merewether, Newcastle NSW
12 - 18 March 2012
Epic conditions again on offer at Merewether Point
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 9 March, 2012 : - - Port Macquarie wunderkind Matt Banting (AUS) stamped his authority on the CHIKO Pro Junior at Merewether beach by setting a score in day twos first heat that would remain unsurpassed until the afternoons outgoing tide offered competitors dredging barrels.
Banting, who grabbed the attention of the surfing world last month when he pocketed the winners cheque from both the ASP Pro Junior event and the ASP Mens event at the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly, carved big turns on the open faces and showed how his style of power surfing excels in bigger waves.
Epic conditions were again on offer off Merewether Point, with a flawless blue sky perfectly framing a two-metre south swell that was held up by a strong north-west wind.
But it was after midday that the waves really turned on. The sand positioning favoured the lower tide and it was the last heat of the round of 64 when Wade Carmichael (AUS) from Avoca Beach reaped the days only perfect wave score (10 out of 10). He paired that with a nine to record the highest score of the event so far with a 19 (out of a possible 20).
Carmichael, who took out the Billabong ASP World Junior contest at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast last January after winning a wild card into the events trials, only caught two waves in his heat - but those waves were of such quality that his effort was more than enough to sit atop the judges tally-sheet.
Maxime Huscenot © Gary Luke
The 19-year-old said he was thrilled to be surfing waves of this quality in a Pro Junior. It was killing me yesterday just watching these shacks and I was really hoping it would be on again today, he said. I am just staying up the road at Ryan Callinans place, so its handy and I have been watching the break pretty closely, the natural-footer said.
Merewether surfer Ryan Callinan (AUS) was forced to withdraw from the CHIKO Pro Junior due to an ankle injury. And the round of 64 saw the two remaining local surfers including defending champion Jake Sylvester from Merewether and Kurtis Herman from Anna Bay exit the competition.
For a surfer who has paddled out at Merewether probably more than any other competitor in in the CHIKO Pro Junior, Sylvester was uncharacteristically bamboozled by his positioning today. Horrendous, was what the 19-year-old replied when asked how he felt about a heat that saw him only catch three waves with the top two waves only rewarding him with a three and a five-point score.
I surfed early and felt really good this morning when I was free surfing.... I have surfed here just about every day of my life and to be caught continually in the wrong spot was really disappointing, he said.
Was the weight of being the defending champion here, as well as carrying local hopes and the good wishes of friends and family, too much pressure for the likable natural-footer? No. I like my friends and family being at events it really helps me rather than adds pressure its a bonus, he said.
Vasoc Riberio © Gary Luke
Sylvester need not pack the boards away just yet. Hell be surfing in Sundays trials for an entry into the 6-star Burton Toyota Pro followed by a trip to Tahiti for the Rangiroa Pro Junior that commences on March 30. Another to impress today was South African David Van Zyl.
The 18-year-old, who shares the same home break with Jordy Smith - Durbans New Pier - said he thought todays waves were fantastic.
Travelling the Australian contest scene over the past couple of months with his countrymen Michael February (ZAF) and Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) - both of whom who also progressed through their heats today - Van Zyl said the boys were off for a spot of go-kart action to relax and prepare mentally for tomorrows round of 32.
Cooper Chapman (AUS), the current leader in the ASP Australasian Pro Junior rankings, waited for the last minute in his heat to ensure his continuing involvement in the CHIKO Pro Junior. I knew I needed a decent score and that wave was just what I wanted, the 17-year-old North Narrabeen boardrider said. Its looking like a massive year for Chapman.
Hes off to Tahiti for the Rangiroa Pro Junior, then to the Mentawai Islands in May, the United States in June and July and is wrapping up his surfing year in Europe in August and September. The junior womens round of 48 will be completed today and action will recommence Saturday at 7.30am with the junior mens round of 32.
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Source: Wettoes.com / ASP World Tour
Author: Brooke Cousins / Will Hayden- Smith
Tags: Surfest, Australia, Merewether, Newcastle, ASP, Chika Pro Junior