Billabong Presents: The Ronnie Burns Junior Pro

Honolulu, Hawaii (Monday Sep 4, 2000). Billabong presents the Ronnie Burns Memorial Junior Pro at Kewalos on the South Shore of Oahu, Hawaii tomorrow Tuesday Sep 5 as scheduled. This is the third of four Billabong USA Junior Pro qualifying events, and is the only ASP Junior qualifier for Hawaiian surfers. Currently competing in the Billabong Pro 2000 Anglet/Mundaka, fellow Hawaiian Shane Dorian spoke with reverence of Ronnie’s inspiration to young local surfers in the islands.

” There were always kids hanging out with Ronnie in the water, and he always had the time to talk to us. He was very encouraging to them, and although he was just another guy to many surfers, he was a hero to kids in Hawaii,” said Dorian. ” I’m sure he would be honored to know of this special event in his name, it’s the most natural thing I can imagine. He will always be a hero to me”.

The event is set to showcase Hawaii’s premier junior surfers, with defending champion of the 1999 Hawaiian trials, Fred Pataccia (19) widely regarded as a favorite. Kewalos regular Dustin Cuizon (15) and Bruce Irons were both finalists in last year’s Billabong Junior World Championship at Honolua Bay in Maui, and together with semifinalist Mikey Mitchel, are also viewed as possible winners.

Hawaiian state junior champ Ian Walsh, winner of three NSSA titles Sean Moody (16) and world ISA junior champ Joel Centeio (16), are confirmed entries in the competition, as is aerial specialist Jason Shibata. The surfing of west side dark horses Charlie Carrol (19) and Craig Wilson (18), along with two of the youngest entrants, TJ Barron (14) and Nate Carrol (15), will be seen in tomorrow’s event.

Also in France for the Billabong Pro event was the defending champion, and 1999 ASP world champion, Mark Occhilupo. He spoke highly of Ronnie Burns who died in tragic circumstances while off-road biking in Hawaii in 1990. Documented in the Billabong surf video “Pump”, the two surfers had traveled together to Gradagan (Java), St Leu (Reunion Island) and Jeffreys Bay (South Africa) shortly before Ronnie’s untimely death.

“Life is too short, so make the most of what you’ve got. Ronnie was a great role model, well-traveled and such a good guy to go on surf trips with. He was always happy, and was a master in huge waves at Pipeline in Hawaii,” said Occhilupo. A top 6 placing in the Ronnie Burns Memorial Junior Pro will gain contestants an invitation to the Billabong Junior World Championships 2000, to be held at Makaha on the West Side of Oahu, where 48 contestants will compete in a three day event, with a waiting period from October 31 to November 10 2000. One event remains on the Billabong USA Junior Series before the World Championships; at T-Street, San Clemente from Sept 30-Oct 1, which forms part of the Billabong Soul in the Bowl festival. Call (808) 922-BONG for contest information.

FACT SHEET

WHAT: Billabong presents the Ronnie Burns Memorial Junior Pro at Kewalos on the South Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. This is the only ASP Junior qualifier for Hawaiian surfers. A top 6 placing on the ASP Hawaii Junior ratings will gain contestants an invitation to the Billabong Junior World Championships 2000, to be held at Makaha on the West Side of Oahu, Hawaii in early November. 48 contestants will compete in the three day event with a waiting period from October 31 to November 10 2000.

WHEN: Monday Sept 4 to Friday Sep 8, 2000.

WHERE: Kewalos, South Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

WHO: The hottest junior surfers in Hawaii. In order for surfers to compete in this series, they must be 19 years old or younger as of 31st December 1999, ie they can not turn 21 during the 2000 tour year.

FORMAT: The competition format will be decided by the number of contestants entered, and will be run to standard ASP Junior Series 2000 event rules.

JUDGING: The ASP 2000 judging criteria will be used by four ASP rated judges. In attendance are Michael Ginzberg (head judge), Jack Shipley, Bernie Baker aand Jerry Coffman.

STATUS: The event is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the organization that controls professional surfing globally.

PRIZE-MONEY: The juniors receive a total of US $5,000 in prize money.

ENTRY PROCEDURE: Please complete the standard entry form, and submit it together with the $80 entry fee to Faith Wenzl of ASP Hawaii.

HOTLINE: Call (808) 922-BONG for contest and entry information.