Heath Joske Wins Billabong Pro Junior At Bells

Coff's Harbour Surfers dominate Billabong Pro Junior at Bells Beach

Australasia's top five surfers on the ratings decided for the ASP Billabong World Junior Championships.

Saturday October 4th 2008:Heath Joske (Valla Beach/Coffs Harbour Region) today won the Billabong Pro Junior at Bells Beach defeating fellow Coff's Harbour surfer Jayke Sharpe in good 1m surf. It was a first for Coff's Harbour surfers who filled placings 1,2 and 3 at the prestigious Billabong Pro Junior at Bells Beach today.

Under extreme pressure to land a big result at this event to secure qualification into the ASP World Junior Championships which will run in Sydney early next year, Heath Joske (Valla Beach) and Jayke Sharpe (Sandy Beach) met for the first time in the final in what was their final event of both their esteemed ASP Pro Junior careers.

For Joske, who has enjoyed a great Pro Junior career but had never actually won a major Pro Junior it was the perfect finish to his Pro Junior years. Not only did he win the event, he secured his position into the ASP World Junior Championships in January next year and he also won the prestigious Billabong Pro Junior ratings for the year so the day could hardly have been better for the very talented surfer who will go into his open career next year full of confidence.

"What a day and what a finish to surfing Pro Juniors!" said an ecstatic Joske after the final.

"Bells has been good to me throughout my career and I knew I'd be a chance to win here and with great waves all week it has come together fantastic – My goals are already set for the future starting with a great result in the World's and then straight onto the World Qualifying Series and hopefully back here soon at Easter and winning at the sports highest level!"

In the semifinals Sharpe and Madison Williams (Diggers Beach/Coff's Harbour) fought out a see sawing duel with Sharpe securing the win in the final minute when he found a long Rincon ride and posted a 5.5 which was just enough to get him through.

Semifinal number one was also a very close battle with tactics favouring Joske in his win over Queensland's Nic Vasicek (Coolangatta).

Local Victorian surfer Cahill Bell-Warren, just 18 years of age and still with another year to compete on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior Circuit had been a standout throughout this event, consistently winning his heats on the opening three days with high scoring performances but on the final day was unable to find that form and went down in his round 5 heat to Queensland's Blake Ainsworth.

For Bell-Warren, who lives within one kilometre of Bells, today's equal 9th place was his best result ever at Pro Junior level (20 year and under) and the result sets him up for an excellent seeding for next years circuit which will be his final year at Pro Junior level.

"I'm disappointed with my result today, I really felt I was in with a great chance to win this event but that heat this morning was frustrating – I really only scored one strong scoring ride when I needed two – I couldn't find a decent second wave and given I know the waves here so well I should have had an advantage in finding the right waves but it didn't quite work out that way" said a clearly disappointed Bell-Warren. "Regardless, it's been a great week of surf and a result like this does set my expectations at a high level for next season so it's been good".

This was the final event of the ASP Australasian Pro Junior season for 2008 and Australasia's top five surfers qualifying for the ASP Billabong World Pro Junior Championships are:

1. Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head/NSW)
2. Heath Joske (Valla Beach/Coffs Harbour/NSW)
3. Tamaroa McComb (Tahiti)
4. Jayke Sharpe (Coffs Harbour/NSW)
5. Lincoln Taylor (Nth Stradbroke Island/Qld)