Owen Wright, Granger Larsen Highlight Day 1 Of Billabong ASP World Junior Championships

Billabong ASP World Junior Championships
North Narrabeen, Sydney, NSW Australia
January 3 – 10, 2009

Australians Dominate Day 1 Of Billabong ASP World Junior Championships

NORTH NARRABEEN, Australia (Saturday, January 3, 2009) – The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships got underway this morning in three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Sydney's iconic North Narrabeen beach with the Australians proving dominant in the challenging conditions.
Owen Wright Billabong ASP World Junior Championships

Owen Wright. Photo Credit: Steve Robertson/Covered Images

The culmination of a year's worth of domestic ASP Pro Junior Series, the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships is the premiere junior event in the world and the decider in the hunt for the ASP World Junior Title.

Owen Wright (AUS), 18, last year's equal 3rd place finisher at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships and an ASP International wildcard into this season's affair, kicked off today's campaign in sterling fashion, posting a 8.50 and backing it up with an 9.33 to take down Pierre-Valenti Aborde (FRA), 17, and Shota Nakamura (JPN) and advance directly into Round 3.

"I'm feeling really healthy right now," Wright said. "I've been at home on the New South Wales South Coast ironing out the kinks in my surfing and body so I feel really good coming into this event."

Wright's 17.83 out of a possible 20 proved to be the highest heat total of the day and the progressive goofy-footer has his sights set on the ASP World Junior Title.

"I just tried to stay busy out there this morning," Wright said. "I wanted to start well and attack everything and the scores came to me."

Tamaroa McComb (PYF), 16, who now lives on the Gold Coast of Australia, wasted no time in the opening heat of the day, posting an impressive 8.17 and a 6.73 to defeat opponents Kiron Jabour (HAW), 17, and Heath Joske (AUS), 20.

Tamaroa McComb Billabong ASP World Junior Championships

Tahiti’s Tamaroa McComb. Photo Credit: Steve Robertson/Covered Images

"I felt really good out there," McComb said. "It was the first heat of the event so it feels good to win and get through Round 3. I'm focused to do well and surf against the world's best. That's why I'm here."

Wright and McComb were joined by fellow Australians Stuart Kennedy (AUS), 19, and Dean Bowen (AUS), 18, in their respective Round 1 victories.

While the home country dominated today's proceedings, the visiting surfers from around the world had their moments as well.

Granger Larsen (HAW), 18, smashed the North Narrabeen righthanders with forehand flare to net an impressive 16.17, defeating opponents Jadson Andre (AUS), 20, and Heremoana Luciani (PYF).

"So stoked to get through that heat," Larsen said. "It was a really gnarly heat. I drew the No. 1 seed and knew that it would be a tough ask in these small conditions. I feel really confident going through to the third round after that performance and am looking forward to the rest of the event."

Tanner Gudauskas (USA), 20, equal 3rd place finisher at last season's Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, picked up where he left off last year, snatching victory from compatriot Cory Arrambide (USA), 19, and Andres Wurst (PER).

"That first heat was crazy," Gudauskas said. "Cory (Arrambide) got off to such a good start, but I just got lucky I guess. I'm just taking it as it goes. It's great to surf in this quality event. The competition is similar to the WQS competitions. I got 3rd last year, but now I want to better that result."

Event organizers called competition off after the first nine heats of Round 1 and will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am for a possible 8am start.

Highlights from today's Billabong ASP World Junior Championships available via www.billabongpro.com

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com

Heat 1: Tamaroa McComb (PYF) 14.90, Heath Joske (AUS) 12.10, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 7.04
Heat 2: Alex Lima (BRA) 11.13, Ricardo dos Santos (BRA) 10.50, Keito Matsuoka (JPN) 8.10
Heat 3: Magno Dias (BRA) 10.67, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 10.17, Klee Strachan (ZAF) 7.97
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 17.83, Pierre-Valenti Aborde (FRA) 11.60, Shota Nakamura (JPN) 7.26
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 14.36, Blake Jones (USA) 14.30, Maxime Huscenot (REU) 11.50
Heat 6: Jatyr Berasaluce (EUK) 10.67, Tonino Benson (HAW) 10.33, Jules Thomet (FRA) 6.34
Heat 7: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.40, Cory Arrambide (USA) 12.40, Andres Wurst (PER) 6.54
Heat 8: Granger Larsen (HAW) 16.17, Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.50, Heremoana Luciani (PYF) 5.83
Heat 9: Dean Bowen (AUS) 12.16, Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.84, Travis Beckmann (USA) 4.60


Heat 10: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Heifara-Peter Tahutini (PYF)
Heat 11: Casey Brown (HAW), Kai Barger (HAW), Koko Nakamura (JPN)
Heat 12: Charles Martin (GLP), Nobuyuki Osawa (JPN), Kaito Sekimoto (JPN)
Heat 13: Julian Wilson (AUS), Jayke Sharp (AUS), Casey Grant (ZAF)
Heat 14: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Medi Veminardi (REU), Nicholas Godfrey (ZAF)
Heat 15: Nat Young (USA), Lincoln Taylor (AUS), Shaun Joubert (ZAF)
Heat 16: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Andrew Doheny (USA), Marc Lacomare (FRA)

Heat 1: Pauline Ado (FRA), Nikita Robb (ZAF), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Arini Mason (NZL), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Christa Alves (USA)
Heat 3: Paige Hareb (NZL), Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN), Nao Omura (JPN)
Heat 4: Bethany Hamilton (HAW), Alizee Arnaud (FRA), Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 5: Coco Ho (HAW), Gabriela Leite (BRA), Leila Hurst (HAW)
Heat 6: Laura Enever (AUS), Diana Cristina (BRA), Sarah Baum (ZAF)