Billabong World Junior Championships (Nov 2-10)
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)World Junior Tour (WJC)
Wildcards’ Parkinson & Fanning Vying For World Junior Title
ASP Int’l, Australia (Monday, Oct 29): The upcoming Billabong World JuniorChampionships scheduled November 2-10 on Phillip Island, Victoria,Australia, will showcase the top 48 surfers from the globe, aged 20years-and-under. The prestigious junior contest relocated from its previousvenue of Hawaii for the 2001, US$45,000 tournament, and will decide thisyears’ ASP world junior champion.
Surfers from all seven (7) ASP world regions will be present, with theworld-class field featuring competitors from North America, South America,Hawaii, Europe, Japan, South Africa, and host region Australasia.
Extra pressure has been added to the mix with the confirmation of currentWorld Championship Tour (WCT) member Joel Parkinson, and fellow 2002 WCTqualifier Mick Fanning (both Aus) as wildcards. The highly rated pairsecured the top two seeding positions, respectively, since the tournamentwill follow a WCT format, and are out to farewell their junior careers instyle.
Parkinson, 20, who won the 1999 ASP world junior title in Hawaii, and iscurrently rated 14th on the WCT, was not about to underestimate hisdomestic, or international counterparts.
“This is the worlds’ most prestigious junior event and everyone who is init, is capable of winning,” reasoned Parkinson. “I would love to finish myjunior career with a second world title but I’ll just have to wait and seewhat happens. It’s a great time of year for waves at Phillip Island, it’spowerful down there so it will also be a good run-in for this years’Hawaiian events.”
Fanning, also 20, has been in exceptional form all year, and even blazed thefirst WCT event of the season to win as a wildcard. From there he continuedto shine, racking up more than enough points on the World Qualifying Series(WQS) to guarantee his position amongst the upper echelon next year. Still,a junior crown is a major priority now.
“The event is going to be exciting, the waves have power and the field willbe a top junior one,” said Fanning. “To finish the juniors on a high notewould be good, especially in Australia. The competition is going to betough. Some of the guys might not have high profiles outside their owncountries but that’s not to say they don’t have the talent. Plus all theAussie surfers are dangerous.”
Adrian Buchan (Aus) will enter the tournament as third seed, after winningthe ASP Australasian Junior Tour. The 19-year-old will head a strongcontingent of Australia’s junior surfers who all qualified through thenation-wide, domestic circuit.
Reigning ASP world junior champion Pedro Henrique (Brz) was also given awildcard position and the chance of defending his 2000 title. The Brazilianwon his country’s first surfing world title in Hawaii last November, andenters this year’s tournament rated 11th, the highest of any South American.
Pablo Gutierrez (Spn) will lead the Europeans after winning his secondconsecutive European Junior championship earlier this year. The 20-year-oldis seeded fourth, ahead of fellow Europeans qualifiers from France, ReunionIsland, Great Britain and Tahiti.
Current U/18 World Grommet champion Jay Quinn (NZ) was another wildcardrecipient into this year’s draw, making him New Zealand’s solerepresentative. The 18-year-old Kiwi expressed his pride and eagerness uponhearing the news.
“I’m fully stoked,” said Quinn. “No one from New Zealand has ever qualifiedbefore. Its great ASP International see me as a good enough surfer to be inthe event, especially with guys like ‘Parko’ and Mick Fanning in it.”
Sean Moody heads the Hawaiian charge in 7th, with Micah Bryne, seeded 8th,out in front of his fellow North American peers. South Africa’s Simon Fishholds his nation’s highest spot in 23rd, while Japan’s only representative,Yoshimitsu Yamada, is seeded 31st.
Local Victorian surfer James Noble has also been granted a wildcard start,following his final’s berth in last year’s event. The Australian surfedbrilliantly to finish fourth, but unfortunately sprained his ankle duringthe concluding moments of the decider, needing assistance to exit the water.
The 2001 ASP Billabong World Junior Surfing Championships will be acompletely mobile event with an eight-day waiting period, but only requiresfour days in which to be completed. Organizers will make a decision eachmorning as to the day’s schedule, with information available shortlyafterward.
Phillip Island is approximately two (2) hours from Melbourne InternationalAirport and is Victoria’s leading tourist destination, attractingapproximately 3.5 million visitors each year. It has over twenty recognizedsurf breaks, ranging from quality beach breaks to right and left hand reefand point breaks.
The official opening ceremony will be staged at the Phillip Island NaturePark Penguin Reserve on November 1 at 4.00pm.