Sydney, NSW (Wednesday 26th November 2008): As summer in Oz draws closer, so does the festive season, holidays and the world’s premier junior surfing event – the 2008 Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
Taking place from 3 -10 January 2009 at Sydney’s iconic North Narrabeen beach, the action is sure to be mind-blowing as the most radical junior competitors from around the world get ready to slug it out for a prestigious ASP Junior World Title.
With a standout crew of home grown talent on hand to thwart the hopes of their international rivals, the 2008 event could be the year for resurgence from the Australian challengers.
Having dominated the girls division since their 2005 inception, it has been somewhat of a dry spell for Australian male competitors since Joel Parkinson won the second of his title’s back in 2001.
After years of dominance from international competitors, 2008 is gearing up to be a big year for the local lads with the likes of ASP Australasian Pro Junior Champion Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head, NSW), Lincoln Taylor (North Stradbroke, QLD), Owen Wright (Culburra, NSW) and Heath Joske (Valla Beach, NSW) looking for the crown.
“This year is my third in the main event and I’m older, more experienced and surfing better so hopefully I can do really well,” said Joske. “It’s the only event for juniors worldwide to measure up against each other and I want to prove to myself that I can beat the best of the international guys.”
Tahiti’s Tamaroa McComb will be considered a favorite come January 1.
“I personally think the guys to look out for will be the Aussies,” said Joske. “Stuart, Jayke, Lincoln and Owen are in and they are the four guys that will be hard to beat.”
However, with competitors travelling far and wide from the eight ASP world regions (Europe, South Africa, South America, North America, Hawaii, Australasia, Asia – plus ASP International region) the Aussies won’t have all their own way.
Top international challengers in the junior men’s include Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Klee Strachen (ZAF), Maxime Huscenot (REU), Cory Arrambide (USA), Kai Barger (HAW), Dusty Payne (HAW) and Shota Nakamura (JPN).
On the girl’s side of the draw NSW South Coast teen sensation Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW) has withdrawn from the event after recently qualifying for the top level ASP Women’s World Tour. Despite winning the Australasian Junior Series, Fitzgibbons will focus on training for the first world tour event on the Gold Coast next March.
Her withdrawal has opened the door for talented Sydney teen Laura Enever (Narrabeen) who will compete at her local break during the event. Enever finished equal third in the 2007 World Junior Championships. She will be joined by super grom Tyler Wright (Culburra, NSW) who took out the Beachley Classic in Sydney earlier this year.
Top international competitors in the girl’s draw include Nao Ohmura (JPN) Christa Alves (USA), Courtney Conologue (USA), Alizee Arnaud (FRA), Sarah Baum (ZAF) and Diana Cristina (BRA).
Reading like a who’s who of professional surfing, all competitors will be looking to join the esteemed honour roll which includes ASP World Tour elite Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, QLD), Adriano De Souza (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF), three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), Jessi Miley-Dyer (Bronte, NSW), Nicola Atherton (Bronte, NSW) and starlet Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW).
As a prelude to the main event will be the Von Zipper Trials starting 2nd January, which will feature a host of local and international trialist’s looking to secure two sought after Wildcard slots into the main event.
Again a host of strong Australian talent will grace the Von Zipper trials with Nick Riley (Harbord, NSW) Madison Williams (Coffs Harbour, NSW), Mitch Crews (Currumbin, QLD), Julian Wilson (Coolum, QLD), Nick Vasicek (Coolangatta, QLD) and Craig Anderson (Merewether, NSW) all looking to finish first or second to qualify for the main event.
Virgin Blue, Kustom, VonZipper, Warringah Shire Council and the NSW Ministry of Sport and Recreation support the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.