Mitch Crews : photo Steve Robertson
Billabong Pro Junior Series
ASP Australasian Junior Series
Bells Beach, Victoria
2 - 6 October 2007
Bells Beach Turns-On for Billabong Pro Junior Series Final Event
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 October, 2007 : - - Victoria’s sporting buzz looks set to continue with Bells Beach turning on the best waves in months for unseeded surfers contesting day one of the Billabong Pro Junior Series at the world renowned break. With high stakes on offer in the deciding event of 2007, it was serious surfing action as ‘Generation Next’ went ballistic in the excellent 1.5 metre off-shore conditions that are predicted to continue all week.
The day’s most crucial performance was forced on Billabong Cloud Nine Invitational runner-up NICK VASICEK (Gold Coast) who had to overcome a thirty hour flight from Manila, a late heat start and a serious drop in water temperature to win his round one heat. A late entry forced the no.27 rated ASP Australasian junior into the opening round of competition and the, less than ideal situation.
The versatile Vasicek literally stepped from the tropics of the Philippines into a waiting car at Melbourne airport for the 90 minute drive to Bells Beach where he then arrived a few minutes late for his heat. After a shaky start the powerful goofy-footer found his rhythm on his second ride for an 8.25 score to claim the heat lead at the midway mark of the twenty minute match-up.
The 18 year-old, whose fast and fluid back-hand attack is ideally suited to Bells, was never headed to advance into round two ahead of Finn Barry (Apolla Bay, Vic). “I have probably slept two hours in the last thirty and also went from boiling hot water to freezing cold,” said a relieved Vasicek.
“I jumped out of the car when we arrived and just ran out to the surf. The adrenalin was pumping through me and then I got that good wave and settled down.” “I heard the surf is going to get bigger, so hopefully I get another good result without the stress. Right now, I just need to sleep,” added Vasicek.
The eleventh and final 2007 ASP Australasian event will decide the five junior men and two junior women to qualify for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships at North Narrabeen in January. The Bells Beach tournament winner will join the top ranked surfers on the end of year ASP Australasian rankings in the world’s most prestigious junior event.
Lanky U/18’s Australian title runner-up JOSH JOHNSON BAXTER (Ocean Grove, Vic) was just one of the big-hitters who made the most of the epic conditions on offer for the final event. The 18 year-old, who advanced with a convincing win into round two ahead of DAVID VLUD (North Narrabeen, Sydney), must win to make the cut for North Narrabeen.
“Bells’ is perfect for the contest today,” said JOHNSON-BAXTER. “Way better than the past few contests on the juniors, it’s been a bit of struggle with waves this year but everyone has to surf the same conditions. If I win, I win but I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself but that’s actually the plan,” joked JOHSNON-BAXTER.
Currumbin surfer MITCHELL CREWS continued his new-found form, posting the days highest heat score of 14.90 (out of a possible 20) to advance with a win over fellow Queenslander STORM HOSKINGS (Rainbow Beach). The unranked competitor caused an upset with his victory at Sydney’s Pro-Junior last week and proved he is capable of a repeat performance at Bells with his opening round performance today.
Another stand-out JOHN CUMMINGS (Palm Beach, Qld) also made the most of the solid conditions on offer in his final event as a junior competitor to advance with a win into round two. “It’s just good to get the first one out of the way,” said Cummings. “It’s the most nervous heat of any event but it was amazing to rock up here this morning and see Bells actually breaking.”
The Sunshine Coast’s MITCH COLEBORN (Maroochydore) is in an unbeatable position for the 2007 ASP Australasian junior title and hence the only surfer to so far qualify for the world juniors. In all, COLEBORN has won four of this year’s ten ASP Australasian junior contests and is determined to cap off his sensational season with victory at Bells. COLEBORN will enter along with other top seeds when round two of competition enters the water.
With the 7A rated event offering additional ratings points due to the increase in prize-money to $20000, all top twelve ranked surfers are in contention to qualify for the ASP world juniors.
Current no.2 ranked surfer HEATH JOSKE (Numbucca Heads, NSW), no.3 ranked junior JULIAN WILSON (Coolum, Sunshine Coast QLD), no.4 BEAU ATCHINSON (Copacabana, NSW), no.5 JAYHE SHAPRE (Sandy Beach, NSW), no.6 BRENDAN LECKIE (Palm Beach, QLD), no.7 PARRISH BYRNE (Wollongong, NSW), no.8 ASHLEY KING (Ulludulla, NSW), no.9 NICK RILEY (Fairlight, NSW), no.10 OWEN WRIGHT (Culburra, NSW), MADISON WILLIAMS (Coffs Harbour, NSW) and BLAKE WILSON (Sunshine Coast) are all contention.
Other heat winners included 16 year-old GARRETT PARKES (Byron Bay),CHRIS FRIEND (Sunshine Coast), BLAKE AINSWORTH (GOLD COAST) and WES BAINBRIDGE (Newcastle). Surfing’s wonder-girl SALLY FITZGIBBONS (Gerroa, NSW) is in the box seat for the ASP Australasian Girls title which will be decided at the Billabong Pro Junior Series event at Bells Beach.
The ultimate event will be staged from Tuesday October 2nd to Saturday October 6th along the Torquay coastline with the world famous venue of Bells Beach being the preferred contest site. Featuring $20,000 in prize money for the junior men’s and $3,000 for the junior girls along with a field of 160 guys and 32 girls of Australia's and the worlds best under 20 aged surfers.
The Billabong Pro Junior Series is supported by Coca Cola, Panasonic, UV Triplegard, Clearasil, Von Zipper, Kustom, MTV and Surfing Vcitoria.
About The Billabong Pro Junior Series
Developed in the early 1990’s as a platform for young surfers aiming to become professionals, the $75,000 Billabong Pro Junior Series is the country’s longest standing and richest domestic junior surfing circuit. The five event series is open to aspiring male and female surfers aged 20-years and under and will comprise half of the overall ASP Australasian circuit, which culminates in the crowning of the ASP World Junior Champion at North Narrabeen each year.
2007 Billabong Junior Series
$13,000 Billabong Pro Junior Sunshine Coast, February 6 to 11
$13,000 Billabong Pro Junior Coffs Harbour, February 14 to 18
$13,000 Billabong Pro Junior Raglan, March 29 to 31
$13,000 Billabong Pro Junior Wollongong, September 13 to 16
$23,000 Billabong Pro Junior Bells, October 2nd to 6th.
# 1 : Final Billabong Pro Jr Series to decide world title surfers
# 2 : Coming soon
# 3 : Coming soon
# 4 : Coming soon
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