World’s Best Juniors Hunt Title At Billabong ASP World Juniors

Billabong ASP World Junior Championships
North Narrabeen, Sydney, NSW Australia
January 3 – 10, 2009

World’s Best Juniors Hunt Title At Billabong ASP World Juniors

Heath Joske
NORTH NARRABEEN, Australia (Wednesday, December 23, 2008) – The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, the most prestigious junior event in the world and decider of the undisputed ASP World Junior Champions, is set to run from January 3 – 10, 2008 at Sydney’s North Narrabeen beach in New South Wales, Australia.

The event marks the culmination of the 2008 ASP Pro Junior Series where competitors from each of the seven ASP regions compete on their domestic tours for a chance at qualifying for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships. A minimum of 13 countries will represent the seven ASP regions this January at North Narrabeen’s world-class beach breaks.

The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships boasts one of the most impressive pedigrees of past champions the world has ever seen with the likes of three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), 30, claiming the title in 1998, ASP Dream Tour stalwart Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, stamping his mark on the event twice in 1999 and 2001, South African wunderkind Jordy Smith (ZAF), 20, taking the title in 2006, among others.

Equally, if not more, impressive is the fact that every female to ever take the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships has qualified for the elite ASP Women’s World Tour: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, in 2005, Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, in 2006, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, in 2007.

Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 20, who finished third at last season’s Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, will return as the highest ASP North America junior finisher on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) in 2008 and is keen to better last year’s finish in his final crack at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.

“Being at this event, you really feel like you’re part of something special,” Gudauskas said. “They run it just like an ASP World Tour event and the kids there are easily the best in the world. I got third last year so if I’m able to make the Final in my last year here, that would be great for me and would give me a lot of confidence on the ’QS in 2009.”

Gudauskas has had plenty of experience at North Narrabeen for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships and hopes to lead the ASP North American qualifiers to a solid result.

“Two years ago, I got mixed up and showed up halfway through my heat and lost early then I finished third last year so I suppose I’ve had the best and worst experiences at this event,” Gudauskas said. “Hopefully that will help me this year and I’m super focused on doing well there. The ASP North America kids that are going are all really talented so it’d be great for us all to have good results. That being said, the entire field is pretty daunting so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

Heath Joske (AUS), 20, is one surfer who will be looking to reclaim the Billabong ASP World Junior Title for Australia – Parkinson was the last national to win the event in 1999.

“I personally think the guys to look out for will be the Aussies,” Joske said.    “Stuart (Kennedy), Jayke (Sharp), Lincoln (Taylor) and Owen (Wright) are in and they are the four guys that will be hard to beat.”

Despite the confidence in his fellow countrymen, Joske will be looking to pit himself against the best junior surfers in the world with aspirations of coming out on top.

“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,” Joske said.  “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.”

The men’s field will be rounded out by the top two finishers of Von Zipper Trials, taking place just prior to the start of Round 1. Notable trialists fighting it out in the 16-man Von Zipper Trials include Julian Wilson (AUS), 20, Torrey Meister (HAW), 20, Kolohe Andino (USA), 14 (15 Jan. 1, 2009), among others.

The women’s field will host 18 of the most talented up-and-coming female surfers in the world including 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour campaigners Coco Ho (HAW), 17, and Paige Hareb (NZL), 18.

The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships hosts a waiting period of January 3 – 10, 2008 and will be webcast LIVE via www.billabongpro.com

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com

BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS QUALIFIERS:

ASP North America
-    Cory Arrambide (USA)
-    Nat Young (USA)
-    Andrew Doheny (USA)
-    Travis Beckmann (USA)
-    Blake Jones (USA)

-    Christa Alves (USA)
-    Courtney Conlogue (USA)

ASP Hawaii
-    Kai Barger (HAW)
-    Kiron Jabour (HAW)
-    Casey Brown (HAW)
-    Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
-    TBA (HAW)

-    Coco Ho (HAW)
-    Leila Hurst (HAW)

ASP Japan
-    Shota Nakamura (JPN)
-    Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN)
-    Kaito Sekimoto (JPN)
-    Keito Matsuoka (JPN)
-    Koki Nakamura (JPN)

-    Nao Ohmura (JPN)
-    Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN)

ASP South America
-    Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
-    Alejo Muniz (BRA)
-    Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
-    Alex Lima (BRA)
-    Magno Dias (BRA)
-    Jadson Andre (BRA)

-    Diana Cristina (BRA)
-    Gabriela Leite (BRA)

ASP Africa
-    Klee Strachan (ZAF)
-    Nick Godfrey (ZAF)
-    Shaun Joubert (ZAF)
-    Casey Grant (ZAF)
-    Rudy Palmboom Jr. (ZAF)

-    Sarah Baum (ZAF)
-    Nikita Robb (ZAF)

ASP Europe
-    Maxime Huscenot (REU)
-    Marc Lacomare (FRA)
-    Medi Veminardi (REU)
-    Jatyr Bersaluce (EUK)
-    Pierre-Valentin Laborde (FRA)
-    Jules Thomet (FRA)

-    Alizee Arnaud (FRA)
-    Pauline Ado (FRA)

ASP Australasia
-    Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
-    Heath Joske (AUS)
-    Tamaroa McComb (PYF/AUS)
-    Jayke Sharp (AUS)
-    Lincoln Taylor (AUS)
-    Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

-    Tyler Wright (AUS)
-    Laura Enever (AUS)

ASP International Wildcards
-    Andres Wurst (PER)
-    Dusty Payne (HAW)
-    Owen Wright (AUS)
-    Charley Martin (GLP)
-    Luciana Heremoana (PYF)

-    Sage Erickson (USA)
-    Bethany Hamilton (HAW)

Billabong Wildcards
-    Granger Larsen (HAW)

-    Arini Mason (NZL)
-    Paige Hareb (NZL)

Von Zipper Trialists (Top 2 into Billabong ASP World Junior Championships)
-    Richard Christie (NZL)
-    Nick Riley (AUS)
-    Madison Williams (AUS)
-    Mitch Crews (AUS)
-    Julian Wilson (AUS)
-    Nick Vasicek (AUS)
-    Craig Anderson (AUS)
-    Heifara-Peter Tahutini (PYF)
-    Israel Surfer (ISR)
-    Israel Surfer (ISR)
-    Torrey Meister (HAW)
-    Local North Narrabeen Surfer (AUS)
-    Raditiya Rhondi (IDN)
-    Kolohe Andino (USA)
-    Peterson Cristanto (BRA)
-    Brent Savage (AUS)