South African Dale Staples clinched third place in the inaugural ASP World Junior Series rankings after a heart-breaking quarterfinal loss to eventual runner-up, American Nat Young, in the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships fuelled by Monster Energy at North Narrabeen beach in Sydney, Australia, earlier today (Saturday).
Coming into the event as the No. 2 seed, and with top seed Jack Freestone (AUS) watching from the beach after being eliminated in 9th place on Wednesday, Staples needed to advance to the semifinals to take the rankings lead.
However, it was not to be and the 20-year-old from St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape surfed nervously, falling several times while attempting the same manoeuvres that had seen him defeat a number of the world’s best 20-and-under surfers on his way to the last eight in the event.
Nevertheless, Staples led for most of the 30 minute heat as Young also posted a string of low scoring rides before finally nailing two good manoeuvres on a ride that scored 5.83 out of 10. Despite riding two more waves in the remaining three minutes, Staples could not find the 5.34 points he required for victory.
Young went on to post an excellent 8.33 point ride to grab a finals berth via a last minute victory over Mitch Crews (AUS), who had the honour of becoming the first Australian since 2006 to reach the semifinals in the in the world’s most prestigious junior surfing event.
Meanwhile, in the top half of the draw, France’s Marc Lacomare employed a combination of outstanding wave selection in the tricky one metre waves and a repertoire of committed full rail carves to blast his way past friend and travelling companion Charles Martin from Guadalupe and then Brazilian aerial wizard Caio Ibelli to reach the final.
The final was a ding-dong affair with Young needing to win the event to overtake Freestone and become the first American to claim the ASP World Junior title. However, it was Lacomare who prevailed, emulating compatriot Maxime Huscenot’s victory last year and making it a double triumph for France this year as he added the men’s crown to the women’s title won by Alizee Arnaud earlier in the week.
An elated Jack Freestone (AUS), winner of the first event in the ASP World Junior Series event in Bali in October, was crowned the 2010 ASP World Junior Champion, finishing top of the rankings ahead of Young (USA), Staples (ZAF) and Ibelli (BRA).
“It’s been a mixed roller coaster of emotions watching the heats unfold,” Freestone said. “Big congratulations to all of the guys. It’s a dream come true. I never thought it would come true after placing 9th in this event, but I’m just so happy.”
Freestone and Arnaud will be presented with their trophies and officially crowned ASP World Junior Champions alongside ten-times ASP Men’s Champion, Kelly Slater (USA) and four times Women’s ASP World Champion Steph Gilmore (AUS) at the ASP World Champions Banquet scheduled for the Gold Coast in February.
In addition to the prestigious titles that accompany their performances, the Top 4 men’s finishers receive a massive boost to their future careers by earning preferential seeding into the Round of 96 of all ASP PRIME events for 2011. The Top 8 are also given seeds into the round before the last round of all 1-6 ASP Star Series events.
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As the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships fueled by Monster Energy was unfolding, competitors and others involved in the event were also focused on the devastating flooding that was impacting the state of Queensland. Event sponsor Billabong committed $50,000 to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal and, through the Rush Surf retail banner, is planning to donate clothing to needy communities.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Queensland Government’s flood appeal can visit http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html
The Billabong ASP World junior Championships fueled by Monster Energy is made possible with the support of Sony, Volkswagon, VonZipper, Nixon, Australia’s Surfing Life Magazine, Warringah Council and NSW Sport and Recreation.
Billabong ASP World Junior Championships Final Result:
1 – Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.00
2 – Nat Young (USA) 11.50
Billabong ASP World Junior Championships Semifinals Results:
SF 1: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.07 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.03
SF 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.60 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.40
Billabong ASP World Junior Championships Quarterfinals Results:
QF 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.00 def. Kiron Jabour (HAW) 10.37
QF 2: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 15.27 def. Charles Martin (GLP) 11.90
QF 3: Nat Young (USA) 10.83 def. Dale Staples (ZAF) 9.60
QF 4: Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.54 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.84
Billabong ASP World Junior Rankings (Top 8):
1: Jack Freestone (AUS)
2: Nat Young (USA)
3: Dale Staples (ZAF)
4: Caio Ibelli (BRA)
5: Mitch Crews (AUS)
6: Kiron Jabour (HAW)
7: Marc Lacomare (FRA)
8:Charles Martin (GLP)
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing’s undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships.
The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.