O’Neill is proud to announce the signing of Southern Australian surfer Dion Atkinson. The twenty-year-old surfer made a name for himself finishing third in the ASP Australasia Pro Junior series in 2006. Atkinson’s year was highlighted with wins at the Wild Surf Co/Billabong Pro-Teen Series at Newcastle, New South Wales Australia and the Oakley Pro Junior at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California.
Elated about the Atkinson signing, Rob Bain of O’Neill Australia has a lot of confidence in his new team rider: “We are really stoked to have Dion come on board with O’Neill because, not only is he a powerful and mind blowing surfer, but a kid that everyone likes,” he said. “His surfing in all conditions is bound to turn heads. This past year, there was not one junior surfer that did not fear drawing Dion in a heat. I am looking forward to him one day challenging for the top end of the WCT.”
Atkinson shared the same enthusiasm about being with the O’Neill brand, “I am really happy to be on the team with O’Neill, and looking forward to the road ahead with the brand,” he said. “I always heard that O’Neill made great wetsuits but until I wore one the other day, I just thought that it was a little bit of a blow up. It freaked me out how good the suits were. They are amazing.”
Atkinson seems to be a perfect fit for O’Neill. The powerful natural footer is from Seaford, Southern Australia, a place known for colder water and large sharks, not unlike Santa Cruz, the home of O’Neill. Steamer Lane is also where Atkinson made a lasting impression on Santa Cruz spectators and the O’Neill crew while competing at the Oakley Pro Junior and the O’Neill Cold Water Classic last October.
2007 will be Atkinson’s first full year on the WQS. The transition for Atkinson will be aided by ASP wildcards on the Australasian leg after finishing 3rd in the Aussie junior series in ‘06. “I am really excited about the year ahead and am confident I come out and perform well on the qualifying tour.”