International Surfers Raise Bar at Hurley Burleigh Pro Jr
It was high performance surfing all the way for the second day of the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior, with round two heats hitting the water at Burleigh Heads, Australia ysterday. With a withdrawing swell causing havoc with competitors campaigns, it was only the best-of-the-best that advanced beyond round two.
Leading the way today was international young gun Brandon Jackson, who registered a convincing win in the day’s first heat, despite having to ride a borrowed board after he had creased his board free surfing. Jackson, who was born-and-bred in Durban, South Africa, mastered Burleigh Head’s inconsistent conditions to easily defeat Coffs Harbour ripper Otis Carey and New Zealand’s Tim O’Connor.
“It was a great heat," he said. “I was so lucky to get some waves. I was riding a borrowed board after I creased my board earlier in the day. I just feel relieved to get through." Utilising high-speed maneouvres and a variety of repertoire, the 19-year-old issued a firm warning to his Australian counterparts that he’s surfing at his best.
Fresh from a runner-up placing at the first ASP Australasia Junior Series event of the New Year, Jackson is fired up to go one better at Queensland’s richest ever-professional junior surfing event. “Every event I enter I want to win," explained Jackson. “Last year I got a good result in the Queensland pro junior event and I’m hoping to do the same or better this year."
Jackson’s combined heat total of 13.23 points (7.83 and 5) was amongst today’s highest. He will now advance, along with Carey, through to round three. The talented natural footer will return home at the completion of the event to concentrate on his pro junior assault in the highly competitive South African circuit.
Pocket-sized Byron Bay surfer Garrett Parkes was another who turned heads, advancing through to the seeded round with a well-earned victory. Opening with a strong 7.83 ride and later backing it up with 5.83, Parkes held off a late charge by Gerroa’s Dean Bowen to seal the win. Although small in stature, the rising junior star has the supernatural ability to pull of radical above-the-lip-line moves in the trickiest of conditions.
Coolum surfing sensation Julian Wilson, who top scored on day one, once more staked his claim as the country’s best junior prospect after notching up yet another impressive win yesterday. 18-year-old Wilson is an overwhelming favourite to win the junior-only tournament, which boasts a strong field of 192 competitors, including 32 internationals.
Others to impress on day two included Gold Coast up-an-comer Blake Ainsworth, who posted the event’s equal top scoring ride (9.00) in his mid-morning heat and Bronte’s Caleb Reid. Phillip Island’s Carl Wright was also impressive. Burleigh Heads is expected to be the location for today’s round three heats, with competition to commence at 8am.
The Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior is proudly supported by Boost Mobile, Sony Ericsson, Electric Visual, Waves Magazine, ASP Australasia and Surfing Queensland.