Oakley’s Tyler Wright Claims the Oakley World Pro Junior Women’s Title; Fellow Aussie Jack Freestone takes the Junior Men’s
The Aussie’s were out in force on the final day of the Oakley World Pro Junior. Jack Freestone, 18, and Tyler Wright, 16, are the event Champions. Each walk away not only with a World Title, but also with 10,000 rankings points to put them in an early lead on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Junior Tour (WJT). Oh and the US$10,000 and US$5,000 dollar prizes purses aren’t too shabby either.
Despite a torrential downpour and onshore winds at the start of day, Keramas turned it on for the world’s best junior surfers, providing pumping 4-6 foot surf for the quarters, semis and finals of both the men’s and women’s divisions.
The talent displayed today, and over the course of the contest, has raised the bar for high-performance junior surfing. There’s now doubt that the future of the sport is in able hands.
Australian sensation Jack Freestone was the first winner of the day, beating Dale Staples (ZAF), 19, in a thrilling men’s division finale. Jack came out firing in the extended 35-minute final. He snagged the first set wave before slotting through a hollow Keramas tube for a precedent setting 9.57 (out of a possible 10).
Despite Jack’s standing lead, the heat came to a dramatic close as Dale Staples exercised his priority with 15 seconds on the clock to snare one of the best waves of the day. As he drove through its cavernous barrel it looked as though he was about to unseat Jack on a the bell, but he got clipped on the way out ending his hopes for the championship title.
“I’m so happy, I can’t speak right now,” said Jack. “That was so crazy that end bit. I thought Dale (Staples) made that barrel. It was so scary. I’m so happy. That’s the best win of my life.”
En route to the final, Jack came up against Oakley standouts Nat Young (USA) in the quarters and Caio Ibelli (BRA) in the semis. Needless to say it was not an easy run, as both surfers had been dominating throughout their early round heats. Nat Young had even posted the event’s only men’s division perfect 10 for the insane “Gorkin Flip,” he nailed on Day 4.
On the women’s side of the draw, Tyler Wright defeated Alizee Arnaud (FRA) – 13.40 to 12.67, in a tight final and last heat of the seven-day contest.
“It was a really tough battle out there,” said Tyler. “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, Tyler bounced back with a 7.50 to hold on for a narrow victory.
The Oakley star, who lives in Lennox Head, Australia, dominated every heat from Round 1 through to the final notching some of the highest scores of each round for a truly outstanding performance overall.
Finishing in equal 3rd, was fellow O teammate Sage Erickson (USA) who had also been a strong contender throughout the contest. In the opening women’s semi-final heat Sage’s consistency was looking to pay off, until she made an error on priority allowing Alizee Arnaud (FRA) to snag an open face set wave to get the points she needed and oust Sage – 13.97 to 12.84.
Overall it was a great Oakley event with impressive performances by the whole Oakley Junior Surf Team. Watch as their campaigns for the ASP World Junior Title continue at the final stop of the inaugural ASP WJT in January.
For complete Oakley World Pro Junior results, photos, video, heats on demand and more check out oakleyprojuior.com.