Despite small and windy conditions challenging competitors throughout the bulk of proceedings, there was plenty of fantastic surfing action from the 20-year-old and under competitors in the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships held at Narrabeen Beach, Sydney, Australia.
With one metre (three foot) waves pulsing into the arena the “grommets” (the nickname for young surfers) went hell for leather on everything that moved as they battled through the sudden death heats of round two of both the women’s and men’s.
Grabbing one of the top scores of the day was Australian Julian Wilson (pictured below), who after faltering in round one yesterday, managed to put his Billabong ASP World Junior Championship aspirations back on track with a sterling performance today. Whipping and weaving over the fairly powerless swells, Wilson showed true determination when he defeated fellow Australian James Wood 15.00 to 9.67.
”It felt good to get a few waves under my belt today,” said Wilson. “Yesterday I was in the first heat of the day and it was stormy and windy and I found myself a bit lost at sea. But today it had cleaned up a bit and I found a good bank to sit on.”
Wilson did well to hold off Wood who excelled a few days earlier when he won the Von Zipper Trials to advance into the main draw. Wood is renowned for big performances and Wilson was relieved that he ended up in front today. “I knew it was going to be a tough heat as I watched him come through the trials,” said Wilson. “It sucks to take out a fellow countryman but in the end it had to be one of us getting through and I’m glad it was me.”
In the truly international field that contains surfers from all corners of the surfing universe, other heat winners came from Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, USA, France, Tahiti and Hawaii. And of the internationals Dusty Payne (HAW) was a standout as he easily accounted for his rival in Great Britain’s Reubyn Ash.
“I was shattered after losing that first heat yesterday so I’m wrapped to be back on the right path to success,” said Payne. “We’re all just dong our best. It’s a bit difficult to surf out here so it’s a heat-by-heat situation. I’ll just take it as it comes.”
Making possibly the biggest stir in the event today was Noboyuki Osawa from Japan who ousted one of the biggest names of Australian junior surfing in Laurie Towner. Towner, who has a reputation for taking on monster waves, couldn’t find any momentum and left the door open for the talented Osawa to steal the show.
Osawa, who speaks little English was very pleased with himself, sporting an ear-to-ear grin on leaving the water. “I am very happy right now,” said Osawa. “To win any heat here is a big feat and I am even more happy to beat Towner.”
Also claiming a win today was the youngest competitor in the event, 14-year-old Tamaroa McComb (PYF) – pictured above – who defeated number four seed Ola Eleogram (HAW). McComb stole the show with a high scoring ride on the opener – a 9.17 – and from there held on to take down the proceedings. The youngster, who has the world class Teahupoo in his backyard at home in Tahiti, looked strong all the way and will be happy to grab his round three berth given the difficult conditions that he had to face today.
”The conditions were hard out there again,” said McComb. “They were really mushy and difficult. It’s also very cold here compared to where I come from. I am happy to get through. There is a lot of pressure. Everybody is good in this event.”
The round three heat draw promises to deliver more of the same excitement when competition resumes with numerous anticipated matchups on the cards. Check out the full Round 3 listings at: www.billabongpro.com