Oakley Rider Sets Pace for Global Challenge in Bali
The battle is on for the big bucks in Bali, Indonesia with eighteen of the world’s top junior surfers going toe-to-toe in the opening round of the world’s richest-ever pro junior tournament at the high performance wave of Keramas today.
CLICK HERE to view video highlights of day 1 actions
After two lay days, the $75,000 (USD) Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Championships kicked off with a bang with the official ‘blessing of the waters’ ceremony commencing proceedings before Round 1 surf action began.
Hawaiian wildcard Dusty Payne (Maui, Hawaii) set the benchmark in the opening heat of the day, shredding the epic 1.5-2-metre right hand reef break waves to pieces, beating Brazil’s Miguel Popo and Japan’s Kaito Ohashi.
“I couldn’t have asked for a sicker event,” said Payne. “It’s a great wave, there’s plenty of money up for grabs and the vibe is unreal. I’m so stoked to be here as the wildcard.”
Payne, who has only competed in two events so far this year after suffering a major knee injury before the start of the World Junior Championships at Narrabeen, Australia in January, took no notice of his prior injury, taking to the skies with some committed aerial moves to finish with a 16.50 two-wave combined total (out of a possible 20).
Nineteen-year-old Payne led from siren-to-siren, netting an excellent scoring 8.00 on his first wave to setup a commanding lead. The talented natural footer inflicted further pain on his foes, jagging a set wave before unleashing multiple forehand moves to seal the win with an even better 8.50.
“I was trying to feel out my board,” he said. “I hadn’t ridden it in a few months, so it was great to get a few waves under my belt.”
Payne now moves directly through to Round 3 along with runner-up Pupo, while Ohashi will fight it out in sudden-death round two elimination which starts tomorrow.
South African sensation Shaun Joubert (Mossel Bay) continued to up the ante, posting both the day’s highest individual wave score and combined heat total en route to defeating New Zealander Billy Stairmand and Brazil’s Franklin Serpa.
“It was really fun out there,” said Joubert. “There were a few barrels and I probably got the best two waves in the heat, so I’m stoked.”
The 19-year-old was all class in the barrelling right-handers, weaving through the eye of two reeling tubes to snare a pair of near-perfect 9’s (9.5 & 9.43). After the heat, Joubert said he was pleased to be in Bali.
“It’s an achievement just being here,” he said. “It’s such a big contest with so many great surfers, so it’s overwhelming. I’m stoked to be in the mix.”
Joubert finishing in the numero-uno position with 18.93-points, almost eight points clear of Stairmand on 11.9, with Serpa in third on 11.37.
Other big Round 1 winners today included Renuion Island’s Romain Cloitre, France’s Marc Lacomare (Hossegor)and Brazil’s Peterson Crisanto, along with South Africa’s Nick Godfrey.
Competition is expected to continue tomorrow morning with sudden-death round two heats to be completed.
In its inaugural year, the 2008 Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge has traveled the globe since February. With a total of six events for junior surfers to qualify, the Global Challenge Championship will connect four days of competition during a 10-day waiting period, October 7-17 in Bali, Indonesia. The series kicked off at North Stradbroke, Queensland, Australia, followed by, New Pier, Durban, South Africa; Lower Trestles, San Clemente, Calif., USA; Itamambuca Beach, Ubatuba City, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Shidashita Point, Chiba, Japan and Grand Plage, Lacanua, Gironde, France.
Click here to view video highlights of day 1 actions.