SURF: 6-8 foot storm surf
EVENTS HELD: Men’s Round 3
NATURE’S CALL: Hopefully better tomorrow for the finals
PREDICTED: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie oi, oi, oi on the podium
Today was a bruiser. Big, windy, ugly ones out the back. Slabby shut downs on the inside. The groms were in for a battle. Problem was, aside from a few international standouts here and there, it was only the Aussies who brought their spears and swords to this one. Everyone on Team Australia today, except for Matt Wilkinson who had the misfortune of drawing compatriot, Beau Atchison, took down their opponent and took em’ down hard.
The biggest to fall was number 1 seed and former winner Adriano De Souza. Last year he lost a tight one in the final to Jordy Smith so the furious comeback that Owen Wright dealt him today in Round 3 must have been a shock. Adriano ripped and had Wright comboed with 12 minutes left. But the rail thin Wright, with Occy and Parko cheering him on backstage, somehow found open sections to blast and inside shacks on two separate waves amidst the swirling gnarl to post the upset win.
Wright, who’s been known as one the best young surfers down here for a while, had to qualify by winning the trials after taking a semi sabbatical from competition in 2007. “I’m really happy,” he said. “Even though I was down I never gave up hope.”
Wright’s biggest competition in terms of pure form and ability, Julian Wilson, also looked strong today. He cruised to a lead over Oxnard’s Nick Rosza without really pushing it before finding an inside nug at the end that he absolutely destroyed. “I’m really confident,” said Wilson. “I came here to win.”
As for the rest of the Americans and Hawaiians, San Clemente’s Tanner Gudauskas, Seal Beach’s Chris Waring, and the Big Island’s Tonino Benson kept their hopes for a junior world title alive. Not so lucky were Hawaiians Clay Marzo, Granger Larsen, Mason Ho, Casey Brown and Kyle Ramey and Floridian, Adam Wickwire. “So Shi**ty out there,” was the common sentiment amongst them as they drowned their sorrows in a few gooey meat pies.
Tomorrow, with a slightly dropping swell and milder winds forecasted it should be a little better. And with the long summer days we might be able to finish it all in one shot. Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore, get ready – chances are some folks you know are going to join you in the world title club.
For more on the 2008 Billabong World Juniors, visit www.BillabongPro.com