TOP HAWAIIANS SURF THE RONNIE BURNS MEMORIAL JUNIOR PRO
Honolulu, Hawaii (Monday May 21, 2001).
Billabong presents the Ronnie BurnsMemorial Junior Pro at Kewalo Basin on the South Shore of Oahu, Hawaii todayas scheduled. A four foot residual swell from the Billabong Pro Tahiti isexpected to showcase the surfing of the premier Hawaiian juniors, withdefending champion of the 1998, 1999 and 2000 Hawaiian trials Fred Patacchia(19) widely regarded as the surfer to beat.
“Ronnie was undoubtedly a great surfer, and the few times I did meet him, hewas super cool to us groms. I was star struck!” said Patacchia of thelegendary role model. An inspiration to young local surfers in the islands,Burns was a master of huge waves at Pipeline who died in tragiccircumstances while off-road biking in 1990.
The two youngest entrants in the competition at age 15 are TJ Barron andKekoa Bacalso, both accomplished competitors whose age belies theirexperience. TJ is a two time US and National champion from the North Shoreof Oahu who is capable of inflicting upsets on the older juniors. A third inthe 2000 Ronnie Burns Memorial and a fourth in this year’s O’Neill ColdWater Classic at Santa Cruz in February puts Kekoa in the same league.
Current US Champion and World Surfing Games Junior Champ Joel Centeio (18)is second seed for the event. He placed second to Patacchia in last year’sKewalos event, and his recent wins include both the O’Neill event and theBillabong T Street Junior Pro last September. Another red hot junior towatch for is Jamie O’Brien, who preceded his strong showing this past seasonon the North Shore with a third place in the 2000 Billabong Junior WorldChampionships held at Makaha in November.
Sean Moody (18), winner of three NSSA titles, has confirmed his entry in thecompetition, as has Dustin Barca (19) and Daniel Jones (17). Since this isthe only junior pro qualifying event for Hawaiian surfers, they will besurfing all out for a top 6 place and an invitation to the Billabong JuniorWorld Championships 2001. 48 contestants will compete in the three day eventto be held at Phillip Island, Victoria Australia in early November.