Sam Wrench today won the prestigious Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge 2009 final in excellent five-foot surf at Keramas River-moutMarc Lacomare.
This victory netted Wrench $20,000, the biggest prize purse in Pro Junior surfing. The un-sponsored surfer entered the Bali event through an alternate ticket made available by fellow countryman Owen Wright, who pulled out of the event in order to pursue Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series points.
The 19 year-old from Ulladulla on the south coast of NSW was overjoyed with the win, defeating an elite field of 18 of the world’s best 20 years and under Pro Junior surfers, including the current European and World Junior Champions.
“It’s the first and obviously the biggest win of my professional career and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Wrench after the win. “The field here was so strong and we have surfed perfect waves all week. It’s amazing to win an event like this. It’s one of the best events in the world for any pro junior surfer.”
Wrench trailed for most of the Final after Lacomare opened with a very strong seven-point ride. It was during the final 10 minutes of the Final when Wrench found two clean deep rides and used his proven strategy of scoring long barrel rides that he took the lead and eventually the win.
“It’s such an amazing wave,” said Wrench. “You can score big in lots of ways, either tube riding, on-face or even aerials. I found getting the longer tube rides suited me and it worked for me today.”
For Lacomare it was his second runner-up placing at this event, and despite being disappointed, was gracious in defeat.
“I would have liked to have won this year, but unfortunately I’m second again,” said the current European Junior Champion. “The contest is so good and the field so strong, we have enjoyed an incredible week of surfing against each other and well done to Sam.”
An inspiring performance was also put on by current World Junior Champion Kai Barger today, who suffered a knee injury sustained free surfing two days ago and this morning hobbled to the water’s edge, fully braced. After two low scoring waves, Barger pushed his performance hard, clearly uncomfortable but still showing signs of his renowned power, and scored a very worthy six-point ride, putting him in contention. His following ride was one of the best of the event. Taking one of the largest set waves, Barger unleashed a massive opening bottom-to-top turn and followed up with three more powerful controlled turns, scoring an 8.5. But in the final five minutes, a priority mistake saw Wrench claim the Semi- final, but Barger’s remarkable performance drew applause from the beach.
Sam Wrench joins last year’s inaugural winner Dusty Payne (Hawaii) on the prestigious winner’s list of the Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge.
The quality of this event was highlighted by the daily scheduling of heats. With plenty of excellent surf in prime time at an A-grade surf location, heats were surfed per day in the following way, 3, 3, 5, 4, 3, 0, 3 and 2 – a scheduling unlikely to be matched in professional surfing.
Semi 1: Sam Wrench (AUS) 14.85 V Kai Barger (HAW) 14.50
Semi 2: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 15.50, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.66
Final: Sam Wrench (AUS) 14.40 V Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.65
The Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge is a unique specialty series launched by Oakley in 2008 to give young surfers the opportunity to compete at some of the best surfing locales around the world. After a hugely successful inaugural year, the 2009 series acquired international momentum and qualifying became a main priority for many of the world’s top juniors.
For more information log onto oakleyprojunior.com <http://www.oakleyprojunior.com>
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