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Victory Feast for Junior Surfers at the Roxy Surf Festival

laura enever

sally fitzgibbons Left: The days biggest round three winner was Laura Enever. Photo: ASP Robertson © Covered Images. Above: Sally Fitzgibbons was straight out lucky to find a late wave and squeak through to round four. Photo: ASP Robertson © Covered Images.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Victory Feast for Junior Surfers at the Roxy Surf Festival

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia (Wednesday, January 23, 2008) - It was a day of upsets at the Roxy Surf Festival at Phillip Island, Victoria as junior surfers dominated their world ranked opponents on Day 3 of competition.

The 6-Star ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) division, turned into a feeding frenzy for surfers aged 20-years and under, who demolished their older counterparts like they would their breakfast.

Leading the field was U18 Australian Surfing Champion Laura Enever (AUS). The 16-year-old from Sydney’s North Narrabeen, took one off her fiercest rival, ASP World Junior Champion Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in the toughest heat of the competition, posting the day’s top heat score, a 17.35 (out of a possible 20.00).

After watching Fitzgibbons feast on wins at the ASP World Junior Championships in Sydney, as well as the latest Pro Junior in Gunammatta this year; Enever had, had enough.

The feisty blonde opted to sit on the fairer of the two peaks breaking at Woolamai Beach this morning, tucking into numerous juicy looking walls, to post a near perfect 9.50 (out of a possible 10.00) ride.

“At first I couldn’t decide where to paddle out but eventually decided on the spot I’d been free surfing,” Enever, who entered the event as a Roxy wildcard, explained. “It’s the best decision I’ve made in a while.”

The victory was a dream start to Enever’s first ever WQS appearance.

“Earning those scores has given me so much confidence,” Enever continued. “I’m just so happy I got through and was able show everyone how good I can surf out there.”

Fitzgibbons, paddled out on the opposite peak and trailed behind heat leaders Enever and Brazilian sensation Tais Almeida (BRA) for most of the heat. The newly crowned ASP World Junior Champion eventually stroked into a fair sized wave, snatching an 8.00 point ride to slip into second.

“It was kind of tough, there were two banks and I managed to choose the bank that stopped breaking,” admitted Fitzgibbons. “The girls were getting some really high scores on the other bank so I was a bit behind the eight ball. I was just lucky to get those two scores and sneak my way through.”

New Zealand’s top junior Paige Hareb surfed a tactically smart heat, advancing ahead of Hawaii’s rising young surf star Bethany Hamilton – who lost her left arm during a shark attack on the island of Kauai three years ago- as well as ASP World No. 9 Rebecca Woods (AUS) and Amy Stewart (AUS).

“I’m on a good little run at the moment,” Hareb said referring to her recent runner-up finish in the World Junior Championships and third place finish at the Gunamatta Pro Junior.

“We younger girls are used to surfing these kinds of waves because we surf them so much on the Aussie Pro Junior circuit, so we’ll definitely be tough to beat.”

Hamilton, certainly didn’t make things easy for Hareb. The talented Hawaiian surfer, who has been training with ASP World Champions’, Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmores (AUS), trainers up at Burleigh Heads this past week, looks to be a fierce competitor in the upcoming rounds.

“I’m really confident in strong good powerful waves of Hawaii and I think surfing in these beach break waves, pushes my skill levels,” Hamilton said after advancing in second place.

“The younger girls are just frothing to get out there and I think that’s what’ll put us ahead of the older girls in these conditions.”

While the younger girls fed off the novelty of winning, some of the older, more experienced surfers were thriving off more personal motivations.

For top seed and World No. 4 Sam Cornish (AUS), it was her brief stint in the World No. 1 spot on the elite ASP Women’s World Tour in 2007, that had her hunting for victory this morning. Cornish advanced ahead of Jessica Hickson (AUS), the pair eliminating Alize Arnaud (FRA) and Jessica Grimwood (AUS).

“I went out with a really hungry attitude and tried to do as much I could with what I was given,” Cornish said. “I am looking forward to getting stronger and improving my results this year. I want to win really badly and I’m just going to persevere until I do.”

Former ASP World Tour Campaigners Serena Brooke (AUS) and Laurina McGrath (AUS) posted excellent 8.50 rides to win their respective heats. Both girls will be looking for a top finish at this event to kick start their 2008 WQS campaigns, in the hope of qualifying for the top tier tour in 2009.

Round 3 was completed in good one- meter waves, followed by Round 1 of the 3-Star Longboard Qualifying Series in the afternoon.

Surfers and officials honored beloved surfing identity Denis Callinan whose memorial and funeral service was staged at his home town of Miami on the Gold Coast today with a minute’s silence. The 53 year-old, surfing solicitor died last Wednesday night due to complications following a heart attack. Denis is credited with raising over $1 million dollars for charity over the course of surfing, legal, teaching and managerial career.

The Roxy Surf Festival is held in association with the Victorian State Government "Play it Safe by the Water" and proudly supported by ASP Australasia, Surfing Victoria, Bass Coast Shire Council and Phillip Island Nature Park.

Round 4 of the 6-Star WQS division is expected to commence at 07:30 (local time) tomorrow.

For updated results log onto www.roxy.com/festival

 

Beckersurf

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