AUSTRALIA’S JACK FREESTONE AND TYLER WRIGHT CLAIM WINS AT OAKLEY ASP WORLD JUNIOR PRO
KERAMAS, Bali/Indonesia (October 8, 2010) – Australian surfers Jack Freestone, 18, and Tyler Wright, 16, have shot to an early ratings lead in the race for the undisputed men’s and women’s ASP World Junior Titles, after claiming respective wins at the Oakley ASP World Pro Junior, event no.1 on the ASP World Junior Tour (WJT), in pumping 4-6ft (1.5-2m) waves in Bali today.
Despite a torrential downpour and onshore winds at the start of day, Keramas turned it on for the world’s best junior surfers, with the quarters, semis and finals of both the men’s and women’s divisions being completed in an absolute tube fest.
The day’s surfing was representative of a new benchmark for high-performance junior surfing and provided an accurate gauge for the future stars of the sport.
Australian junior surfing sensation Freestone was the first winner of the day, beating Dale Staples (ZAF), 19, in a thrilling finale to the men’s division.
In an extended 35-minute final, Jack Freestone came out firing, jagging the first set wave before slotting through a hollow Keramas tube to jag a precedent setting 9.57 (out of a possible 10).
In the driver’s seat, Freestone added to his two-wave tally with a 4.27 to setup a strong lead that supported him for the majority of the final.
Despite Freestone’s standing lead, the heat came to a dramatic close as Dale Staples (ZAF) exercised his priority leaving Freestone unable to do anything, but watch. With 15 seconds remaining, Staples snared one of the best waves of the day, driving through its cavernous barrel and looking as though he could be taking fate into his own hands, before being clipped on the way out and ending his hopes for the championship title.
“I’m so happy, I can’t speak right now,” said Freestone. “That was so crazy that end bit. I thought Dale (Staples) made that barrel. It was so scary. I’m so happy.”
Freestone finished with a 13.84 two-wave combined total (out of a possible 20) to collect US$10,000 and 10,000 rankings points for his win.
At finals end, a victorious Freestone was chaired from the water where his family and a large crowd of spectators greeted him.
“That’s the best win of my life,” he said. “Every heat I surfed was hard, but it was so worth it. I’m so stoked.”
Staples, who only managed an 8.44 total, said he was happy with the result despite finishing in the runner-up position.
“I was just really stoked to be out there and get a good result,” said Staples, who won US$5,000 for his efforts. “A second is still a really good result. I’m just happy to beat some of the best junior surfers in the world. Anyone could have been in that final.”
Staples admitted that he was anxious heading into the later stages of the finale.
“I was really nervous,” he said. “I was waiting for a set wave all final. But it didn’t come until the end. I was hoping the last one would open up, but it didn’t.”
Staples, who resides in St. Francis Bay in South Africa, heads to event no.2 on the ASP WJT sitting in second on the rankings with 8,000 points.
The young Gold Coast ace, who groomed his surfing in the high performance waves of Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, had no easy run to the final, having earlier disposed of Nat Young (USA) in the quarters and Caio Ibelli (BRA) in the semis, before toppling Staples (ZAF) in the decider.
In a low scoring opening semi-final, Freestone dispatched of Caio Ibelli (BRA), finishing with a 12.84 two-wave combined total to Ibelli’s 11.83.
After both surfers scored 7’s on their opening rides, Freestone waited patiently for his second scoring ride of a 5.67 (out of a possible 10), while Ibelli exchanged boards after creasing his craft.
In the box seat and holding the lead in the final stages, Freestone experienced a nerve-racking finish to the 30-minute semi, with Ibelli needing only a midrange 5.34.
Ibelli caught multiple inside waves, but to no avail. The talented Brazilian finished the event in equal 3rd position, accruing 6,500 ranking points and US$3,000 prize money.
Semifinal two was just as talent packed, with Staples edging out Mitch Crews (AUS) in the final minutes of their semi showdown. Crews dominated the initial exchanges, netting a 6.83 and an 8.50 to hold the lead for the majority of the semi, but Staples kicked into gear with 7-minutes to go and holding priority. He dropped into a reeling Keramas wave, driving through the barrel before exiting to post a winning 9.33 (out of a possible 10).
Crews finished in equal 3rd place to collected 6,500 ranking points and US$3,000 prize money.
Finishing in equal 5th today, were Nat Young (USA), Conner Coffin (USA), Kiron Jabour (HAW) and Evan Thompson (USA), who were all eliminated in the morning’s quarter-finals.
On the women’s side of the draw, Wright signaled her intentions for the ASP Women’s World Junior title, defeating Alizee Arnaud – 13.40 to 12.67, in a tight final.
“It was a really tough battle out there,” said Wright, who won US$5,000 and gained 10,000 ranking points. “Alizee (Arnaud) was ripping and got two early scores on me. I knew I needed to step it up on my next waves so I just went for it. I’m so happy.”
Trailing with just under 5-minutes to go, Wright bounced back with a 7.50 to hold on for a narrow victory.
The Australian star, who lives in Lennox Head, Australia, dominated every heat from Round 1 to the final, notching some of the highest scores of each round.
Finishing in equal 3rd, were Sage Erickson (USA) and Airini Mason (NZL), who where both eliminated in their particular semi-finals.
Earlier in the day, reigning ASP Women’s World Junior Champion Laura Enever (AUS) was ousted by Arnaud (FRA) in a one-sided quarter-final affair.
Focus now turns to event no.2 on the ASP WJT, starting on January 8th, 2011 at Narrabeen in Australia.
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR FINAL RESULTS (MEN’S):
1 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.84
2 – Dale Staples (ZAF) 8.44
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL RESULTS (MEN’S):
SF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.84 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.83
SF 2: Dale Staples (ZAF) 16.83 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 15.33
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR QUARTERFINAL RESULTS (MEN’S):
QF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.10 def. Nat Young 13.57
QF 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.83 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.76
QF 3: Mitch Crews (AUS) 18.23 def. Kiron Jabour (HAW) 17.86
QF 4: Dale Staples (ZAF) 18.06 def. Evan Thompson (USA) 12.90
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR FINAL RESULTS (WOMEN’S):
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.40
2 – Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 12.67
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL RESULTS (WOMEN’S):
SF 1: Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 13.97 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 12.84
SF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.00 def. Airini Mason (NZL) 11.34
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR QUARTERFINAL RESULTS (WOMEN’S):
QF 1: Sage Erickson (USA) 13.50 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.83
QF 2: Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 17.33 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 9.23
QF 3: Airini Mason (NZL) 14.50 def. Diana Cristina (BRA) 13.83
QF 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 19.17 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.17