11-Year Old Jack Robinson (above) Steals The Show At Billabong and Taj's Small Fries Event In WA.
Sunday January 18 2009: In excellent surf at Yallingup in the remote south west of Western Australia, interstate surfers Soli Bailey (Byron Bay NSW) and India Payne (San Remo Victoria) have won the under 16 Boy's and Girl's divisions of the prestigious Billabong Taj's Small Fries national event.
While the interstate surfers managed to take the two premier divisions, WA surfers also shone through at this event lead by the exciting potential of Margaret River 11 year old surfer Jack Robinson who made all three finals which included a massive scoring win in his under 12 division. Robinson won his under 12 final with outstanding scores of 9.63 and an 8.5 out of 10 and in his under 14 final was close to winning having scored the finals top scoring ride of a 7.5 but had to settle for 3rd place in that final without a reasonable second scoring ride. Jack also placed 3rd in the under 16 final.
Other WA surfers who really excelled today included Alex Durant (1st place under 14 Girls), Creed MacTaggart (2nd place 16 Boys) and Shaun Manners (2nd Place 12 Boys).
As expected the surf conditions were superb throughout this event which finished at Main Break Yallingup and the youngsters reveled in the conditions.
Taj was onhand throughout and the current World Number 3 rated surfer closed the event by saying " It's so good to see fantastic young surfers competing at such a high level – the kids are coming from everywhere and striving to get better and I know my local boardriders club at Yallingup and the community love this event – we're lucky to have such a great area for waves and to serve up the conditions to these kids is just perfect."
Soli Bailey and Jack Robinson tied for honours of the standout surfers today – Bailey by winning two divisions across under 14 and under 16 and Robinson care of his three finals performances and super high scores spread through the finals.
Bailey commented on his performance here saying "We've had great waves here and it's a really cool event. I'm going to Hawaii next month and to surf these waves is sort of a good lead up with lots of power and size – I'll stay on for a few days here because it looks like there's some big waves coming – the place is fantastic"
India Payne's win was the biggest of her career and also one of the closest as she managed to edge out local Yallingup girl Mikaela Greene by just 0.5 of a point.
"That was so close, we were changing the lead throughout the final and I was so relieved when the siren went and I was in front – it's a great event to win because the waves are always so good here and to have Taj Burrow watching us all surf the finals was a really good feeling"
There were numerous excellent performances today across all finalists but special mention must go to Sunshine Coast Queensland pair Kai Hing (4th place under 12's) and Eli Steele (2nd place under 14's) who performed well all week and their long trip to the south west proved well worthwhile.
Results across all divisions can be found via the Surfing Australia website at www.surfingaustralia.com and a gallery of shots from this quality event will also appear on the website in a few days.
Without doubt, all surfers left the event today feeling super about surfing in one of Australia's richest areas for class surf and all those who remain eligible will be eager to surf this event again next year!
Jack and Taj. Photo: Steve Robertson/Surfing Australia