Monday, Oct. 2, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — The Australian duo of Jack Freestone, 18, and Tyler Wright, 16, have shot to an early ratings lead in the race for the undisputed men’s and women’s ASP World Junior Titles, after claiming respective wins at the Oakley ASP World Pro Junior, Friday in Bali.
Despite a torrential downpour and onshore winds at the start of play, Keramas turned it on for the world’s best junior surfers, with the quarters, semis and finals of both the men’s and women’s divisions being completed in an absolute tube fest of four- to six-foot waves, according to ASP’s official press release.
Junior surfing sensation Freestone was the first winner of the day, besting South Africa’s Dale Staples, 19, in a thrilling finale of the men’s division.
In an extended 35-minute final, Freestone came out firing, jagging the first set wave before slotting through a hollow Keramas tube to nab an excellent score of 9.57 (out of a possible 10).
In the driver’s seat, Freestone added to his two-wave tally with a 4.27 to build a strong lead for the majority of the final.
But in a dramatic ending, Freestone could only watch on as Staples exercised his priority.
With 15 seconds remaining, Staples snared one of the waves of the day, driving through its cavernous barrel before unfortunately being clipped on the way out.
“I’m so happy, I can’t speak right now,” Freestone said. “That was so crazy, that end bit. I thought Dale made that barrel. It was so scary. I’m so happy.”
Freestone finishing with a 13.84 two-wave combined total to collect $10,000 and 10,000 rankings points for his win.
At final’s end, a victorious Freestone was chaired from the water where his family and a large crowd of spectators greeted him.
“That’s the best win of my life,” he said. “Every heat I surfed was hard, but it was so worth it. I’m so stoked.”
Staples, who could only manage an 8.44 total, which included a 5.67 and a 2.77, said he was happy with the result despite finishing in the runner-up position.
“I was just really stoked to be out there and get a good result,” said Staples, who won $5,000 for his efforts. “A second is still a really good result. I’m just happy to beat some of the best junior surfers in the world. Anyone could have been in that final.”
Staples admitted that he was anxious heading into the later stages of the finale.
“I was really nervous,” he said. “I was waiting for a set wave all final. But it didn’t come until the end. I was hoping the last one would open up but it didn’t.”
In the women’s side of the draw, Wright signaled her intentions for the ASP Women’s World Junior title, defeating Alizee Arnaud, 13.40 to 12.67, in a tight final.
“It was a really tough battle out there,” said Wright, who won $5,000 and gained 10,000 ranking points. “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 five minutes to go, Wright bounced back with a 7.50 to hold on for a narrow victory.
The Australian star, who lives in Lennox Head on the Northern NSW coastline, dominated every heat from Round 1 to the final, notching some of the highest scores of each round.
Focus now turns to event No. 2 on the ASP WJT, starting on Jan. 8 at Narrabeen in Australia.
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com.
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR FINAL RESULTS (MEN’S):
1 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.84
2 – Dale Staples (ZAF) 8.44
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL RESULTS (MEN’S):
SF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.84 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.83
SF 2: Dale Staples (ZAF) 16.83 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 15.33
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR QUARTERFINAL RESULTS (MEN’S):
QF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.10 def. Nat Young 13.57
QF 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.83 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.76
QF 3: Mitch Crews (AUS) 18.23 def. Kiron Jabour (HAW) 17.86
QF 4: Dale Staples (ZAF) 18.06 def. Evan Thompson (USA) 12.90
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR FINAL RESULTS (WOMEN’S):
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.40
2 – Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 12.67
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL RESULTS (WOMEN’S):
SF 1: Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 13.97 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 12.84
SF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.00 def. Airini Mason (NZL) 11.34
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR QUARTERFINAL RESULTS (WOMEN’S):
QF 1: Sage Erickson (USA) 13.50 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.83
QF 2: Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 17.33 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 9.23
QF 3: Airini Mason (NZL) 14.50 def. Diana Cristina (BRA) 13.83
QF 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 19.17 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.17
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