Jack Freestone Wins Oakley World Pro Junior in Bali; Conner Coffin Finishes Equal-5th

MICK CURLEY_LOW RES_OPJ_KERAMAS_FINALS-0122

It didn’t matter what roll anyone else was on or what style of surfing they preferred – no one was beating Jack Freestone. What Jack wanted to accomplish on Day 11 of the Oakley World Pro Junior at Keramas, Jack accomplished. If he wanted to land a stalefish, he’d land one and then another. If he wanted to pull out a double-grab Hippy Twist (combo stalefish and slob with full rotation air-reverse), he’d do that too – for the second perfect 10 of the event (both were his). There was nothing in surfing that seemed to be outside his abilities.

In the Final, he came up against Ezekiel Lau of Hawaii, maybe the only other surfer performing as consistent as Freestone. The Hawaiian’s blend of power and airs presented a formidable combination to whatever the Aussie might unveil. Lau took the early lead, but then Freestone began to “build the house,” as Lau put it, and put a pair of mid-range scores on the board to narrowly beat out the Hawaiian, 13.83 to 13.77, to win the event and his second ASP World Junior Title.

With the second title, Freestone joins elite company: only he, Pablo Paulino of Brazil, and current World No. 1 Joel Parkinson have twice worn the ASP Junior crown. Freestone also won in 2010; Parkinson in 1999 and 2001, and Paulino in 2004 and 2007.

“It’s amazing [to be tied with Joel]; look where he is now, he’s on top of the world ranks,” Freestone said. “I’m so happy to follow in his footsteps and both being from Burleigh, it’s amazing and really good for Australia.”

Lau tried to keep pace with Freestone, but the smaller waves made it difficult to generate the speed and power he prefers to work with.

“I tried to get a good start, make sure I was on the first set and get the first big score, which I did, but then he just kind of built a house,” Lau explained. “He got a lot of waves, stayed busy, and got those two big scores under my priority. He did awesome; he surfed real well the whole event, and he just finished it.”

Oakley’s Conner Coffin had a chance to break Freestone’s momentum in their quarterfinal heat on Tuesday morning. The two contrasting styles – Jack’s airs vs. Conner’s power turns – were on display from early in the heat, as Freestone launched an air-reverse on his first wave, which was followed by Coffin’s ferocious under-the-lip snap. The guys went wave-for-wave until Freestone pulled out another air-reverse and followed it with a fins-free snap for an 8.57 and the insurmountable lead.

“I think we were both surfing good. It was kind of a slow heat [for waves], it would have been fun to have a heat where we’re both riding a lot of waves, especially with the difference between my surfing and his surfing – we’re opposite ends of the spectrum,” Coffin said. “It just came down to how the judges scored it, power versus the air deal. The wave was kind of chunky, so it was good for turns, but the heat probably could have gone either way.”

With Freestone’s win, the Oakley World Junior Pro comes to a close after a historic 11 days of action. Between Freestone and Nikki Van Dijk’s win in the women’s division four days ago , for the first time ASP World Champions were crowned in Indonesia. And with Oakley continuing to support junior surfing, it allowed the world to witness how high the level of talent actually is in this next generation. From 14-year-old Jack Robinson’s veteran-like savvy to Coffin’s pure power to Quincy Davis’ silky-smooth style, there’s a lot to be watching for from this crowd in the years to come.