The surfing action will be hotter than ever when the Brothers Neilsen Pro Junior kicks off at Burleigh Heads in Queensland, Australia in April 2007. The pro junior event, which has traditionally kicked off the Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) Australasia Pro Junior Series, will now run from Monday 16th April through to Sunday 22nd April. The shift to April is to coincide with more favourable surf conditions.
Featuring $20,000 in prize money, the seven-star rated tournament will boast a field of 160 of Australia and the world’s best 20 years and under male surfers. Adding to the event’s already high stakes is the inclusion of a 32-field girls division for the first time in the tournament’s history. Brothers Neilsen Managing Director Paul Neilsen said the surf wear company was pleased to be continuing their sponsorship of the historic tournament.
“It’s our aim at Brothers Neilsen to continue to provide the highest standard of competition so that Queensland surfers will remain well represented on the world stage,” he said.
“This year we have made three major changes to the event. Firstly, we have taken the opportunity to move the event into the later time slot of April, which should provide a better window for surf. Secondly, we’ve upped the ante to a 7-star event and thirdly we’ve added a field of 32 junior girls to give them a platform from which they too can launch a career in professional surfing.”
The long tunneling barrels of Burleigh Heads will provide the perfect battlefield for 192 aspiring professional surfers who are chasing glory on Queensland soil.
The list of past Brothers Neilsen Pro Junior champions reads like a who’s who of surfing including Ben Dunn (Oldbar, NSW), Mick Fanning (Coolangatta, QLD), TJ Barron (HAW), Taj Burrow (W.A, AUS), Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, AUS) and Luke Munro (Currumbin, AUS).
Surfing Queensland CEO Andrew Stark said it was a great outcome for junior surfers worldwide. “It’s fantastic news that this key gold coast event continues to power on,” he said. “Burleigh Heads is a internationally recognised high performance wave and to have the world’s best junior surfers fighting it out for the $20,000 prize purse in the absolute peak surf season is an added bonus for surfing in Queensland and Australia.”
This year’s line-up is again brimming with talent with the likes of high profile juniors including ASP Australasia junior ratings leader Mitchell Coleborn (Wurtulla, QLD), no.6 seed Brendan Leckie (Palm Beach, QLD) and no.8 seed Julian Wilson (Coolum, QLD).
Neilsen’s youngest son, Matt will lineup in the tournament in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of his father. Neilsen ventured to Hawaii where he won the prestigious Smirnoff Classic to become the 1972 World Pro-Am Champion, backing up his Australian title at Bells Beach in 1971.
Burleigh Heads is the preferred venue of the weeklong tournament but the event does have the option of going mobile on the Gold Coast to get the best waves from Southport Spit to Duranbah. Competitors must be current financial 2007 ASP Australasia members as of the entry closing date to receive their seeding. International competitors must contact their regional office to enter the event.