Billabong Pro Junior – Port Stephens
Prize Money $13,000 AUD
Mid North Coast NSW
Thursday, 4 September 2008 to Sunday, 7 September 2008
Port Stephens, NSW — International surfers Tamaroa McComb and Paige Hareb (NZ) put Australia’s top Pro Junior surfers to the sword at One Mile Point Port Stephens by winning the Billabong Pro Junior Men’s and Women’s divisions.
In clean and good quality 1m(3ft) waves McComb and Hareb were too strong and both took convincing wins in their finals.
McComb defeated Lincoln Taylor (Nth Stradbroke Island/Qld) securing the win half way through the final when he found an excellent high scoring 8.5 ride. The powerful Tahitian unleashed a series of critical top to bottom turns to overtake Taylor and take the win.
It was McComb’s 2nd Australasian Pro Junior win for the season and at 16 years of age he is the youngest surfer to ever win a Billabong Pro Junior Series event in the 16 year history of Pro Junior Series.
McComb is based in at Coolangatta, moving from Tahiti at the start of the year to focus on his surfing.
“ I came to Australia at the start of this year to improve my competitive surfing and I never expected to do this well in the competitions, I thought maybe make the top 20 would be good but now I’m winning and it feels great – It’s been really good for my surfing coming here for sure” said McComb after his win.
Best of the local surfers was Merewether’s Jesse Adam who placed equal 3rd overall, defeated by the rampaging McComb in a high scoring and close semi final.
In the second semi final young 18 years old Nth Narrabeen surfer David Vlug achieved his best ever result at Pro Junior level finishing equal 3rd when he was eliminated by Lincoln Taylor.
Paige Hareb won the women’s final in almost identical fashion to McComb, in second place until the half way stage she found an outstanding 9 point ride to take a lead that young 14 year old Sth Coast NSW surfer Tyler Wright (Culburra) was unable to claw back.
“I don’t know where that wave came from, it was easily the best wave in the final and that was really the reason I won. It’s my third Pro Junior win for the season which is great and it will be my last Pro Junior for the season – I’m focusing on the ASP World Qualifying Series in Brazil now so it’s good to finish the pro junior year with a win” said Hareb after the final.
Tyler Wright’s second placing in the final has signicantly improved her rating on the Australasian Pro Junior Series and with one major event remaining at Bells Beach early next month she is a real chance to steal 2nd place on the ratings from Laura Enever.
First place is already secured by Sally Fitzgibbons but second place is up for grabs and it’s important as the top two places on the ratings qualify for the ASP Billabong World Junior Championships which run at Narrabeen early January 2009.
“I feel good coming second as I have plenty of years in the Pro Juniors ahead. I’m aware of the importance of trying to come second in the ratings and it’s something I’ll aim for and work hard at coming into the final event at Bells – I usually surf well at Bells so hopefully I can do it” said Tyler Wright after the final.