Gold Coast, Monday February 18th: In one of the closest finals of theseason so far Gold Coast junior surfer Luke Munro (Currumbin) claimed backto back pro junior victories with his win in today’s (Mondays) Billabongboost Junior Series final at Duranbah Beach. The easing swell offeredcleaner but less powerful tubes than throughout the five day tournamentwith one metre barreling beach-break waves on offer for the final day ofcompetition.The lead changed constantly throughout the 30-minute final with 19-year-oldMunro projecting himself from third to first with ten minutes remainingwith an 8.5 ride – the highest wave score of the final – to defeat MitchSemple (Sunshine Coast, Qld), Travis Lynch (Merewether, NSW) and Gold Coastbased South African Shaun Gossman.
Surfing with renewed confidence after his recent win in the BrothersNeilsen Pro Junior, Munro was always a contender from his opening roundfour heat, displaying the full spectrum of modern day maneuvers in hiscontest repertoire. Using speed and his renowned looseness Munro narrowlyposted his second ever, pro junior win, with just over a point separatingthe top three place-getters on the final siren.
“I’m not sure what has changed for me but it’s working, maybe I am payingoff the judges,” joked Munro, who has now taken the ASP Australasian Juniorratings lead. “It was a tough final, anyone could have claimed it untilthe end. I have surfed out here at Duranbah all my life so its great tohave a win here. I have always wanted to take out a pro junior at home andnow I have won two.”
After overcoming a slow start, lone goofy foot finalist Semple came onstrong with a power based performance but was forced to settle for 2ndafter losing to Munro by 1.35 points. Semple just relegated Travis Lynch(Merewether) into third place defeating the inform natural footer a merepoint .45. Lynch made his presence felt on the final day of competitionscoring an 9.25 barrel ride to eliminate Durbidge in the semi-finals.
“It was great to make the final,so I’m happy” said Semple. “It was a bitjunky out there but I didn’t mind because it’s the same as the SunshineCoast which was a good training ground for this event.”
Lynch, who along with Semple were both contesting their first final in overa year took an early lead with a barrel ride but failed to find his thirdhigh scoring ride to finish in third. Tournament standout Gossman couldn’tfind his previous knack of perfect wave selection to finish fourth.
Final scores out of a possible 30 – Munro 21.90, Semple 20.65, Lynch 20.20and Gossman 19.00.
A super selective semi-final performance saw Munro jump from third tofirst in the dying minutes of the heat to advance along with Semple andcause the elimination of fellow Gold Coasters Clint Kimmons and AustinLangridge from the second semi-final.
The opening semi final saw Bede Durbidge (North Stradbroke, IS, Qld)eliminated by less than one point in third position and with the GoldCoasts Rory Togo finishing fourth, posting his best ever result in a projunior. The 18-year-old who had formerly finished third in a BillabongIndigenous contest used superior wave selection coupled with his smoothstyle to progress through six rounds as an unseeded competitor.
“I am happy that I got this far from round one, I’m stoked especially withthe level of competition,” said Togo who placed equal 7th overall andclaimed $400 in prize money.
Top seeded surfer and tournament stand-out Shaun Cansdell (Mullaway, NSW)was a shock elimination from his quarter final heat after failing to findany high scoring rides to finish in equal 13th place overall and lose hisratings lead to Munro.
Byron Bay surfer Laurina McGrath posted her first victory of the seasonwith a commanding win in the Billabong boost Junior Girls final at DuranbahBeach. The former world grommet champion took an early runaway lead,leaving all three of her opponents to play catch up surfing for most of the30 minute final. Using a stylish surfing performance and superior waveselection the 19-year-old won by the clear margin of 3.80 points.
McGrath posted a total heat score of 24 points out of a possible 30 withrunner-up Jessie Mylie Dyer finishing on 20.20, West Australia’s ClaireBevilaqua (City Beach) third with 16.40 and Rebecca Woods (Central Coast,NSW) fourth with 11.55.
“It’s hasn’t been a great season for me until now, I knew I was capable ofmaking a final even though these girls are hard to beat, ” said McGrath whofinished 17th on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) last year. “My goal isto qualify for next years WCT (World Championship Tour) so I will befocusing on the WQS again this year but this has been a great confidencebuilder for me.”
Mylie-Dyer’s second placing was enough for her to take the ratings lead.
The world record field of over 200 surfers enjoyed high performance wavesthroughout the five days of competition at Duranbah Beach. The ASPAustralasian Junior Circuit now moves to the NSW, Central Coast, for thisweek’s Avoca Beach Billabong boost Junior Series and the Billabong boostGirls event from Thursday the 21st to Sunday the 24th February.