ASP World Junior Championships
Jordy Smith junior surf world champion
Lanky naturalfooter from Durban defeats Adriano de Souza in the final
dimanche 7 janvier 2007 –
Smith, a lanky naturalfooter from Durban made the most of everything that came his way throughout the day, and in the end held off a solid charge from 2003 winner and current Foster’s ASP World Tour number 20, Adriano de Souza in the 30-minute final.
Starting off slow with few quality set waves pushing into the Narrabeen arena, both surfers had only minor scores locked in, but as the final progressed both opened up with some big moves and in the end it was a nail biting finish as Smith hung on to the lead till the final hooter with de Souza snapping at his heels.
“It’s amazing. I’ve never really done well in this event so it was great to be able to pull off a win for my family and friends back home in South Africa,” said Smith. “It all feels amazing right now but when it sinks in… I’ll let you know tomorrow !”
Smith admitted that he really had to lift to get past de Souza who only needed just over a 6.0 to get past him. Smith also believed he was also helped when the wind swung offshore which prevented de Souza from launching his typically radical aerial turns.
“Adriano is a terrific surfer and I had to really step it up to go up against him,” said Smith. “Luckily in some ways the wind changed so he couldn’t get the big ramps to launch airs, so yeah I’m happy to come out on top against him.”
Traditionally Smith has struggled here at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships but this year was showing a lot of confidence, which may have stemmed from his third place against the best in the world at Jeffreys Bay in 2006.
He will now focus on getting on top of the ASP World Qualifying Series so he can match it with the big boys in 2008.
“I’ve definitely got more confidence this year and I just went out there to free surf Surf #Surf and luckily I came home with the win,” said Smith. “To get on the Foster’s ASP World Tour is my goal for sure and I’d like to be on there next year so that’s going to be my focus… but right now I’m going to enjoy this moment. To be alongside your heroes like Andy Irons and Joel Parkinson is a dream come true.”
For de Souza the second place was a solid start to 2007 and he indicated that it will give him motivation when his Foster’s ASP World Tour campaign resumes in just over a month’s time.
Interestingly de Souza still has one year remaining in the juniors and can come back to claim a second title in 2008.
“It was a good final and I’m stoked for Jordy right now,” said de Souza. “It was good to start the year with a second so I’m happy. I still have another year left so hopefully I’ll get to come back to Narrabeen next year and do it for Brazil and win it for the second time. It’s great to get going and hopefully I can go further than last year on the first Foster’s ASP World Tour event on the Gold Coast where I finished in third last year.”
Finishing in equal third place was Australian hopeful Matt Wilkinson.
The goofyfooter put on some of the event’s best performances in early rounds – in fact claiming the highest total of the event in his round four heat, an 18.37 out of 20.
But by his own admission he felt he might have peaked too early.
"Yeah I think I may have used up all my 9.0s yesterday unfortunately,” said Wilkinson. “I just couldn’t find a steep wave through the whole semi out there this morning. I felt even with a minute to go I could have scored the 9.0 that was needed, because if you do one air and link together some decent turns the judges are throwing some big scores. I just couldn’t find the waves out there in the end.”
He was however pleased with his overall result.
“The third place is definitely a confidence boost going into the ASP World Qualifying Series this year. The guys here have been surfing amazingly... I really wanted to win the event but I’m still happy to get third.”
On being beaten by de Souza, Wilkinson took his hat off and tipped it for his foe.
“There was no one tougher to surf Surf #Surf against than Adriano de Souza,” said Wilkinson. “He’s an amazing competitor and an amazing surfer… he has a full arsenal of turns."
Also finishing third was young Hawaiian Mason Ho who was elated to have ended up near the pointy end of the draw… Mainly because he can trump the bragging rights that his sister scored yesterday after also finishing equal third in the women’s.
“I’m just super stoked with the result,” said Ho “I tied with my sister who got third in the girls so she can’t brag too much when we get home [laughs].”
While Smith ran away with the semifinal Ho watched on in awe and joked that Smith surfed to his own strategy.
“I was talking to Jordy out there after I was watching him and I was saying to him, ‘that was what I wanted to do !’” laughed Ho. “You either go super-on like him or super-off like me but hey I’m stoked with the result.”
The new Billabong ASP World Junior Champions will now stand alongside Layne Beachley (AUS) and Kelly Slater (USA) at the ASP World Champions Banquet to be held in late February.
Full results, audio downloads, athlete quotes and video highlights are all available on www.billabongpro.com
Heat 1 : Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.67 def Hank Gaskell (HAW) 14.50
Heat 2 : Adrian de Souza (BRA) 11.16 def Thiago Camarao (BRA) 5.33
Heat 3 : Jordy Smith (AUS) 12.00 def Pierre-Valentin Lombard (FRA) 8.27
Heat 4 : Mason Ho (HAW) 12.84 def Torrey Meister (HAW) 11.50
Semi 1 : Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.40 def Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.50
Semi 2 : Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.80 def Mason Ho (HAW) 4.20
Final : Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.84 def Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.83
Final Team Results
1st South America 2774
2nd Australasia 2486
3rd Hawaii 2474
4th Africa 2432
5th Europe 1967
6th Japan 1460
7th USA 1270
(Based on best 4 scores from each regional team not including international or wild card invites. Top 4 teams get 6 invites to next year’s events while other 3 only 5.)