The Billabong World Junior Championships rolled on through the quarter-finals at Narrabeen in wind-strewn conditions of chance this afternoon without an Australian in the field. Standards were stunning in the quarters with a massive upset going down when German competitor Marlon Lipke took down reigning Billabong World Junior champion Adriano de Souza who was formerly looking virtually unstoppable.
Competition resumed at 1230pm in choppy 0.5-1.5m waves with heat 5 of round four, the final exchange of the round seeing Australia’s Adam Melling eliminated by Spain’s Artiz Aranburu. Adam’s loss was the final nail in what has been an exasperating and disappointing campaign from the Aussie troops.
The normally flowing and snappy Melling, who has a uncanny ability to instantaneously assess and adjust timing and positioning midway through manoeuvres, looked nervous and flat, usually managing only one clean move per wave. The 19 year-old won the last Billabong Pro-teen event of last season at Bells in October, but seemed to be psychologically weighed down carrying national hopes on his shoulders.
“Well I basically let myself down by getting bad waves. He got all the bombs. I sort of had a bit of pressure on me admitted a coy Melling after his defeat.
Whilst Melling appeared flustered, Artiz surfed his backhand like a tradesman, dependably linking backhand cutbacks and snaps with good rhythm.
“I was feeling very confident going on the lefts. I feel good on this board on my backhand. I got an 8.5 for my second wave, and then a high seven smiled the quietly spoken Artiz from Vigo in Spain’s north-west, the second European to advance through to the quarter finals.
The all-Brazilian encounter in the first quarter-final saw some brilliant text book performance surfing from Pablo Paulino. The smooth flowing goofy footer from Sierra in the Fortelaza region of far north-western Brazil, who won one of the two Pro Junior fixtures at home to earn qualification to this event, made a habit of drawing maximum speed and drive from full extended bottom turns, and repeatedly impressed observers with his forehand repertoire.
He banked several waves with over nine point scores. His high score of 9.77 came from linking four carving hits through the bowl, coming from behind the section each time as he streamed from top to bottom down the line. Finishing with a whopping 18.94 out of a possible 20 points, Pablo left his countryman Jean da Silva needing a massive 18.95. Pablo speaks no English, but Jean had no qualms in praising his 17 year old mate.
“For me, Pablo was one of the best surfers in the contest with his performance then smiled Jean. “I hope he wins the contest. He found the best waves out there, and usually does. He is surfing very good!
In the second quarter-final reigning Billabong World Junior Champ Adriano da Souza went about catching whatever the ocean dealt up, while Germany’s Marlon Lipke appeared very choosey. The big German was rewarded for his patience and fastidiousness by notching a 9.5 on his second wave for three top to bottom carving gouges, complimenting an earlier 6.33.
Adriano caught multiple rights, popping several aerial reverses with virtually no speed, but only came close to getting the 8.24 he needed as he tried to catch Marlon. Laying several nice carves and a floater into a late left with typical precision he just fell short earning 7.83, and reducing the margin to 8.01 but time beat the South American.
“I can’t believe it! I’m so happy grinned Marlon. “I think somebody up there helped me to get that good wave, and then to keep me ahead at the end. There was so much time at the end with no waves.
“I feel so bad man. I was hoping to be twice a world champion, but I guess that is it said Adriano after offering his opponent hearty congratulations.
South African Shaun Payne from St.Francis Bay, just south of the famous Jeffreys Bay, was a quietly spoken hero after beating his highly publiicised and acclaimed countryman Jordy Smith.
“I didn’t think I was going to do that well here. I think I’ve just been lucky with the waves said a humble Shaun Payne.
“I was watching it before the contest re-started and couldn’t make up my mind whether to go left or right, but then a couple of rights popped up for me and I managed to get a lot out of them
“Jordy and I compete against each other a lot at home, and he always beats me, so I’m really happy. He’s four years younger than me, but such a star
While Jordy had been stretching and psyching before their heat, Shaun had been hurriedly stuffing his mouth with fried fish and chips. After later winning his quarter-final against Hawaii’s TJ Barron, Shaun seemed more stoked about the fact that his prizemoney would now allow him to be able to afford to buy an iPod. He’s a grommet all the way.
“It was stressful out there. Hard work, but it ended up well. I’m stoked! That has really given me some confidence smiled TJ Barron after moving into the quarter-finals. Both TJ and fellow Hawaiian Raymond Reichle fell a lot in their exchange, predominantly victims of lots of wind chop on the surface, though TJ’s stability was marginalised further after losing his deck grip before his heat.
TJ had the same complaint after losing his quarter-final to South African Shaun Payne later today. “I just kept slipping off. Oh well, at least I still have two more years in the juniors said TJ mournfully after his defeat.
Hawaiian Dustin Cuizon took out the last remaining American Stirling Spencer in the second last heat of round four. He went on with his winning ways in his quarter-final against Spain’s Aritz Aranburu earning an early eight for linking a left into an inside right, and then a 9.0 on his next ride for working a long right almost into the Narrabeen lagoon mouth.
“It’s pretty fun if you get the right ones — fun lefts and rights — rippable! It’s just good to have only two guys out in the water for 30 minutes. Wave choice is hard. You basically just out there taking turns, and letting the surfing do the talking, said Dustin.
“I like man-on-man. There’s not as much pressure with just one other guy in the water. The position thing is a whole lot better, cruisier than having to snake each other as you do in four man heats.
Tomorrow’s action will begin with an 8am call for a probable 8.30am start to the semi-finals. A Panasonic Expression Session will go down between the semis’ and the final of the Billabong World Junior Championships.
The Billabong World Junior Championships are supported by Panasonic, Vodafone, Coke, Garnier, Banana Boat, Von Zipper and Surfing Australia.
Tune in the www.billabongpro.com for all the live action available via Webcast.
QUARTER FINAL RESULTS
Quarter-final results — 1st into semi-finals. 2nd finishes equal 5th
QF1 Pablo Paulino 18.94 def. Jean de Silva 11.00
QF2 Marlon Lipke 15.83 def. Adriano de Souza 15.43
QF3 Shaun Payne 10.66 def. T.J. Barron 8.77
QF4 Dustin Couizon 17.00 def. Aritz Aranburu 13.16