Billabong World Junior Championships (Nov 2-10)
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
World Junior Tour (WJC)
Fanning The Man To Beat; Defending Champ Eliminated
Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia (Monday, Nov 5) The world’s most toutedjunior surfer, Mick Fanning (Aus), once again dominated the 2001 BillabongWorld Junior Championships by posting the highest combined heat score of theevent so far en-route to a quarterfinal berth. Top seed Joel Parkinson (Aus)also advanced, and with the pair on opposite sides of the draw, anticipationis already brewing for a possible final’s clash. Meanwhile, defendingchampion Pedro Henrique (Brz) was eliminated in round four.
Clean 3-4 foot (1.3m) waves greeted the world’s best surfers, aged 20-yearsand under, at Woolamai Beach. Competition was placed on hold for an hourthis morning due to the low tide and wind increase, but conditions didimprove as hoped.
Fanning, the current runner-up on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) andalready a 2002 World Championship Tour (WCT) member elect, was unstoppableagainst fellow Australian Bede Durbidge this afternoon. In what proved to bean outstanding match-up, the 20-year-old collected the tournament’s bestsingle wave score with a near-perfect 9.0, together with the highest overalltotal of 24.4-points.
Durbidge came back strong with two high scoring rides toward the end of theheat to be within range, needing an 8.86. His final in the dying secondswave was good, but fortunately for Fanning he was only able to earn 6.15from the judges.
“I didn’t want to give him anything ’cause he’s such a good surfer,” beganFanning, speaking of his opponent. “I was just stoked to get a couple at thestart and make it through.
“I’d be stoked to make the final and if I then came up against him(Parkinson) it would be even better,” he added, speaking of the possibleclash. “We surf together all the time, so it would just be really good tohave a final with him for the world title.”
Parkinson, the 1999 event winner and elite top 45 surfer, today survived atough battle with local Victorian wildcard James Noble. In a slow heat forgood waves, the pair sat waiting for the better sets, with ‘Parko’ultimately receiving the judges nod on the rides he secured. The 20-year-oldopened his account with an 8.0, and then locked in two more 7+ scores towardthe end.
“It was super tight,” admitted Parkinson. “He got that 8.0 and I thought hewas going to get me there for a second and I started panicking, but luckilythat wave came and I got a 7.75 and it put me back in the lead.
“Noble is a good opponent anywhere,” he continued. “But to get him on a homebeach… I could hear the crowd cheering when he got that good one. But I’mreally happy to beat him.”
Defending Billabong World Junior Champion Pedro Henrique (Brz) was a majorupset this afternoon when eliminated by Sean Moody (Haw). The 18-year-oldHawaiian picked off two great rides from the onset and was able to maintainthe lead from there. While the Brazilian did claw back with an 8.25 towardthe end, he was still below the mark.
“There were good waves in the heat so it was fun,” said Moody afterward. “Iknew I had those two good ones under my belt, so I was feeling confident. Isaw him get that good one at the end, but I knew he needed a really bigscore.
“I going to have to try my hardest,” he responded, when asked about nowfacing Fanning in the quarterfinals. “He’s been surfing so well. He’s prettyintimidating, but I can only do my best, I guess.”
Current two-time (2000 & ’01) Australasian junior champion Adrian Buchan(Aus) was another in unstoppable form today. The 19-year-old stormed pastGavin Roberts (SAfr) this morning in round three, before disposing ofGustavo Santos (Brz) in the fourth with the second highest tally of thetournament, for 24.25-points. He’ll now meet Dane Johnson (USA) in thequarterfinals.
Kirk Flintoff (Aus) surfed a fantastic fourth round heat against Alain Riou(Tah) too advance. The Australian actually qualified for last year ‘stournament, but was forced to withdraw due to a bout of pneumonia. Sufferingfrom the flu today, he still managed three exceptional rides for the thirdhighest combined total of the day with 23.9-points.
“I actually have a bit of a flu,” said Flintoff afterward. “So I drank acouple energy drinks before the heat and it got me going. I’ve noticed thejudges are scoring higher on the bigger sets, so I just waited for them.”
Current two-time (2000 & ’01) European Junior champion Pablo Gutierrezcontinued his roll through the 2001 event, eliminating fellow Spaniard andclose friend Gonzalo Zubizarreta. The 20-year-old dominated the match with astrong forehand attack to now come up against Flintoff.
“It was a really good heat with a friend,” said Gutierrez. “There was nostress, we knew one Spanish surfer would be in the quarterfinals, whoevergot the good waves.”
Official Results of the Billabong World Junior Championship Day Four
H1: Kirk Flintoff (Aus) 23.9 def. Alain Riou (Tah) 19.6
H2: Pablo Gutierrez (Spn) 21.8 def. Gonzalo Zubizarreta (Spn) 15.65
H3: Bruno Santos (Brz) 19.75 def. Dustin Barca (Haw) 18.5
H4: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 22.85 def. James Noble (Aus) 20.2
H5: Mick Fanning (Aus) 24.4 def. Bede Durbidge (Aus) 21.7
H6: Sean Moody (Haw) 22.9 def. Pedro Henrique (Brz) 21.35
H7: Adrian Buchan (Aus) 24.25 def. Gustavo Santos (Brz) 18.75
H8: Dane Johnson (USA) 19.25 def. Glenn Hall (Aus) 18.45
H11: Sean Moody (Haw) 19.75 def. Jason Duffy (Aus) 17.65
H12: Pedro Henrique (Brz) 22.75 def. Alan Stokes (GB) 14.0
H13: Adrian Buchan (Aus) 20.15 def. Gavin Roberts (SAfr) 16.25
H14: Gustavo Santos (Brz) 15.9 def. Simon Fish (SAfr) 15.4
H15: Glenn Hall (Aus) 21.15 def. Jay Quinn (NZ) 19.25
H16: Dane Johnson (Aus) 21.0 def. Kekoa Bacalso (Haw) 19.1