Australia Day proved to be memorable for rising junior star Jayke Sharpe (Coffs Harbour, Aus), who defeated ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series ratings leader Julian Wilson (Coolum, Aus) to take out the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior today in inconsistent one-metre (3ft) waves at Burleigh Heads.
Registering his maiden pro junior series victory, 20-year-old Sharpe walked away with $5,000 along with a wildcard into the trials of the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley WCT event at Trestles, California in 2007.
“Im stoked – I have never surfed Trestles,” he said. “At the start of the year I set my goals to be in the top ten, but now I will be concentrating on surfing for Trestles as well as gaining entry into the World Juniors next January.”
Burleigh Heads, generally regarded as the birthplace of professional surfing, was again in the limelight with Sharpe and Wilson confronting each other in a man-on-man final; a surprising thirty-years after its inception at the Stubbies Surf Classic in 1977.
Sharpe opened with a 6.00-point ride to leave his 18-year-old opponent playing catch-up for the entire 40 minute final. He sealed the deal with a 7.10 to finish with a heat total of 13.1 to Wilson’s 12.7.
In doing so, the relatively unknown natural footer upstaged arguably the best junior surfer aged 20 years and under in the world to cement his reputation as one of the most threatening junior surfers in the country.
“That was the longest final of my life,” explained Sharpe. “You give Julian (Wilson) half a chance and he’ll have you in a combination (requiring two wave scores) before you know it. I’m stoked that it didn’t happen today.”
Sharpe’s impressive win boosts him to second on the ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series ratings, where he sits behind Wilson (4593) on 4287-points.
Wilson, who dominated the event from round one, was unable to find high scoring waves in the intense man-on-man final. “The waves were changing every half an hour,” said Wilson. “I had a strategy before the final but when I got out there things had totally changed.”
Brent Dorrington (Coolangatta) and Beau Atchison (Copocabana) finished equal third after being eliminated from today’s semi-finals. Dorrington, 20, who stood out yesterday at his local break of Duranbah, was unluckily defeated by Sharpe in the dying seconds of their 30 minute semi-final.
Bolstering to the unparalleled competition format was Hurley’s ’Burleigh Battle’ presented by Sony Ericsson, which was also staged today. The ’Burleigh Battle’ brought surfers from different territories together in a new team-style format to determine which is the strongest in pro surfing.
In the end it was the Mixed International Team, consisting of Brandon Jackson (South Africa) and Kalen Schloss (Aust), who wowed the judges, blending a series of radical maneouvres on the same wave to get themselves a piece of the winner’s prize – A Sony Ericsson W810i mobile phone and a pair of limited edition Nike sneakers.
A strong international field slugged it out for the $20,000 event; the richest junior prize purse to ever grace Queensland soil!