Top Rated Juniors Compete At The Ronnie Burns Memorial


Honolulu, Hawaii (Monday June 10, 2002). The 2002 Ronnie Burns MemorialJunior Pro event pro continues a long standing tradition that Billabong hasestablished in the world of junior professional surfing. Many of the currenttop professionals who compete on the Association of Surfing ProfessionalsWorld Championship Tour cut their teeth in the ultra competitive junior procontests that Billabong sponsors around the world.

This year’s event features the best junior surfers that Hawaii has to offer,and has been held since 1999 at Kewalo Basin on the South Shore of OahuHawaii. Fred Patacchia was the inaugural winner, and successfully defendedhis title the following year. Unfortunately for Patacchia, his three in arow wins never materialized in 2001 when he lost in the early rounds,leaving the title open to be claimed by Sean Moody.

The event will be fiercely contested by the young Hawaiians, all of whom aredetermined to win the most prestigious title on offer for futureprofessional surfers from the islands. Amongst the entrants, some surfersthat are expected to raise performance levels are 2001 second placed KekoaBacalso, 2001 finalists Daniel Jones and Jordy Brough, 2000 finalist JoelCenteio, plus Ian Walsh, Tom Dosland, Dustin Cuizon, TJ Barron, KoleaFukumitsu, and Dustin Barca. A top 6 placing on the event will gaincontestants an invitation to the Billabong Junior World Championships 2002.

The Billabong Junior World Championships has been held for four consecutiveyears, drawing the best juniors from the seven ASP regions that have ajunior pro tour. In this time, championship titles have gone to Andy Ironsof Kauai in 1998 at Maile Point, Westside Oahu; Joel Parkinson ofCoolangatta Australia in 1999 at Honolua Bay on Maui, and in 2001 at PhillipIsland, Victoria Australia; and to Pedro Henrique of Brazil at MakahaWestside Oahu in 2000. Irons and Parkinson are current ASP WorldChampionship Tour campaigners, and both surfers cannot be discounted to winthe World Championship title in 2002.

This junior pro event presented by Billabong Boost Mobile is held in memoryof the master of huge waves at Pipeline, a great role model and inspirationto young local surfers in the islands who died in tragic circumstances whileoff-road biking in 1990.

Fellow Hawaiian Shane Dorian spoke with reverence of Ronnie’s inspiration toyoung local surfers in the islands. “There were always kids hanging out withRonnie in the water, and he always had the time to talk to us. He was veryencouraging to them, and although he was just another guy to many surfers,he was a hero to kids in Hawaii,” said Dorian. ” I’m sure he would behonored to know of this special event in his name, it’s the most naturalthing I can imagine. He will always be a hero to me.”

1999 ASP world champion Mark Occhilupo also spoke highly of Ronnie Burns.Documented in the Billabong surf video “Pump”, the two surfers had traveledtogether to Gradagan (Java), St Leu (Reunion Island) and Jeffreys Bay(South Africa) shortly before Ronnie’s untimely death. “Life is too short,so make the most of what you’ve got. Ronnie was a great role model,well-traveled and such a good guy to go on surf trips with. He was alwayshappy, and was a master in huge waves at Pipeline in Hawaii,” saidOcchilupo.

“I think it’s great that Billabong dedicated this event to Ronnie Burns, Godrest his soul. We love you Ronnie”, said Patacchia after his 2000 victory.With an expected easterly swell having materialized on the south shore overthe weekend, the 2002 event will run at the start of the five day waitingperiod on Monday June 10th.