NORTH NARRABEEN, New South Wales/Australia (Tuesday, January 12, 2010) – The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships fueled by Monster Energy steamrolled through 18 heats of competition today, cementing the women's Quarterfinalists as well as completing the men's Round 1 in glassy one-to-two foot (0.5 metre) surf at North Narrabeen.
Despite the small surf on offer, both the men and women junior surfers emphatically raised the bar in terms of high-performance surfing, unofficially announcing themselves as the future of the sport.
Owen Wright (AUS), 19, 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie and heavily-favored surfer at the Billabong ASP World Juniors, put the field on notice today, dominating the Alley righthanders with unparalleled speed and projection on his backhand. Posting a number of high-scoring rides, Wright netted a 6.50 and an 8.67 to advance directly into Round 3 over VZ Trials winner Ryan Callinan (AUS) and progressive phenom Clay Marzo (HAW), 20.
"The conditions are pretty tough out there but I seemed to find a couple of little sections," Wright said. "I tried to find the ones with walls to them. My first turns were never big, but I was able to open up down the line. Thankfully no one was knocked out in that heat, but I'm glad to get it out of the way and advance straight through to Round 3."
After surfing a flawless season on the 2009 ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series as well as finishing third on the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), Wright makes his intentions clear in North Narrabeen – he wants an ASP World Junior Title.
"I've been training a fair bit for this event," Wright said. "Since the wipeout in Portugal (at the Rip Curl Pro Search event), I've been in the gym four days a week. I've been going hard; I've put on a bit of weight and it's been going pretty well. Parko (Joel Parkinson) was the last Australian to win it (ASP World Junior Title) and it's been a while for us. I'd love to do it, but everyone in this competition has a good chance. The Aussies have been a bit unlucky lately, but it'd be amazing if I were to finally do it."
Dillon Perillon (USA), 19, broke what was looking like a rough Round 1 for the ASP North America squad, by locking in the highest single-wave score of the event, a 9.33 out of a possible 10 for an electric air reverse followed by two solid turns, and advancing directly into Round 3.
"It's two-foot and windy and that's how it is at home every day," Perillo said. "I don't know how I got the highest score. There wasn't much to the wave. I just saw a good section and pumped down the line and threw up a little air. I'm stoked the judges liked it."
Alejo Muniz (BRA), 19, who nearly qualified for the prestigious 2010 ASP World Tour after an impressive run on the 2009 ASP WQS, was another standout in the afternoon Alley rights, posting an impressive 15.83 out of a possible 20, for a dominant forehand attack.
"The waves were really very hard and very small," Muniz said. "I was just trying to stay focused and enjoy myself. I have an amazing board under my feet (a 5'11") and I'm hoping for a big result here in Australia."
The world's best female surfers once again precluded the men today, with some dramatic performances as the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships fueled by Monster Energy decided the Quarterfinalists.
Alessa Cuizon (HAW), 16, caused the upset of the event, defeating last year's event Runner-Up Bethany Hamilton (AUS), 19, in Round 3 of competition. Leaving nothing to chance, the young goofy-footer dominated the Narrabeen line-up, catching several high-scoring rides, posting an impressive 14.67 out of a possible 20 to advance through to the Quarterfinals.
"I was really nervous before that heat," Cuizon said. "Bethany (Hamilton) is the Runner-Up here and she's dangerous in any conditions. I just tried to put my nerves behind me and catch good waves."
"It's hard surfing against another Hawaiian because you want to see them do well," Cuizon said. "I don't want to see girls from where I'm from knocked out early, but that's competition and sometimes that happens. I tried to put it out of my mind and flow through my heat."
Cuizon will take on fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel (HAW), 16, in the Quarterfinals when competition resumes.
Laura Enever (AUS), 18, continued to fly the flag for the local contingent, besting highly-touted compatriot Tyler Wright (AUS), 16, in the opening heat of Round 3.
"I was really bummed when I found out about my Round 3 match-up with Tyler (Wright)," Enever said. "There are only three Aussies in the event and we want to do the best we can. Tyler rips and has an amazing track record. I knew it would be a hard heat. She's capable of getting a 7 at any time so I was scared the whole heat."
Enever capitalized early in the highly-anticipated bout, posting an impressive 7.67 out of a possible 10 on her opening ride, releasing her fins for an exciting show of the next generation of female surfers.
"It's a bit tricky and a bit slow but there are still some fun alley rights coming through," Enever said. "I was looking for some lefts at the end, but I didn't have any luck. Hopefully the tide keeps draining out and the conditions improve and all the girls keep ripping."
Enever will take on Felicity Palmateer (AUS), 17, in the Quarterfinals when Billabong ASP World Junior Championships competition resume.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be either the opening heats of the men's Round 2 or the women's Quarterfinals.
Highlights from the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships fueled by Monster Energy are available via billabongpro.com.
For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.
BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS REMAINING ROUND 1 RESULTS (Men):
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.17, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.24, Clay Marzo (HAW) 10.93
Heat 10: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.23, Made Rhondi (IDN) 12.97, Medi Veminardi (REU) 12.70
Heat 11: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 14.60, Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.30, Jatyr Berasaluce (ESP) 11.20
Heat 12: Dillon Perillo (USA) 15.93, Franklin Serpa (BRA) 13.57, Charles Martin (GLP) 12.93
Heat 13: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.67, Frederico Moraes (PRT) 10.43, Luke Davis (USA) 9.47
Heat 14: Chris Friend (AUS) 14.50, Cory Arrambide (USA) 14.00, Manuel Selman (CHL) 10.87
Heat 15: Chad Du Toit (ZAF) 12.87, Arashi Kato (JPN) 12.14, Cody Thompson (USA) 11.53
Heat 16: Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU) 13.54, Albee Layer (HAW) 13.00, Kaito Ohashi (JPN) 11.30
BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS (Men):
Heat 1: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Brent Savage (AUS)
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Made Rhondi (IDN)
Heat 4: Granger Larsen (HAW) vs. Jocelyn Puolou (PYF)
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Takumi Nakamura (JPN)
Heat 6: Tonino Benson (HAW) vs. Dean Bowen (AUS)
Heat 7: Kiron Jabour (HAW) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 8: Charles Martin (GLP) vs. Franklin Serpa (BRA)
Heat 9: Manuel Selman (CHL) vs. Federico Morais (PRT)
Heat 10: Clay Marzo (HAW) vs. Cody Thompson (USA)
Heat 11: Medi Veminardi (REU) vs. Kaito Ohashi (JPN)
Heat 12: Brent Reilly (USA) vs. Albee Layer (HAW)
Heat 13: Maxime Huscenot (REY) vs. Arashi Kato (JPN)
Heat 14: Kyle Lane (ZAF) vs. Cory Arrambide (USA)
Heat 15: Casey Grant (ZAF) vs. Luke Davis (USA)
Heat 16: Keito Matsuoka (JPN) vs. Jatyr Berasaluce (ESP)
BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND 2 RESULTS (Women):
Heat 1: Sarah Baum (ZAF) 17.00, Pauline Ado (FRA) 9.30, Susa Leal (BRA) 6.50
Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.10, Nao Ohmura (JPN) 9.90, Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN) 8.30
BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS ROUND 3 RESULTS (Women):
Heat 1: Laura Enever (AUS) 13.40 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.56
Heat 2: Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 12.00 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.00
Heat 3: Joanne Defay (FRA) 14.50 def. Leila Hurst (HAW) 12.40
Heat 4: Gabriela Leite (BRA) 11.76 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 11.33
Heat 5: Alessa Cuizon (HAW) 14.67 def. Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 11.07
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.34 def. Sarah Baum (ZAF) 11.34
Heat 7: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.00 def. Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 10.77
Heat 8: Pauline Ado (FRA) 13.83 def. Nao Ohmura (JPN) 8.63
BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS (Women):
QF 1: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Felicity Palmateer (AUS)
QF 2: Joanne Defay (FRA) vs. Gabriela Leite (BRA)
QF 3: Alessa Cuizon (HAW) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
QF 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)