ASP North America Pro Junior Series Set to Kick off at Billabong Pro Junior
SEBASTIAN INLET, Florida (Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007) – The 2007 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Pro Junior series is poised to begin with the Billabong Sebastian Inlet Pro Junior held at Central Florida’s Sebastian Inlet from Mar. 3-6, 2007.
A grade-two ASP Pro Junior event, the Billabong Sebastian Inlet Pro Junior will feature 72 junior men and 16 junior women vying for $10,000 and $2,500 in prize money respectively, as well as bragging rights and the ever-valuable ratings points.
The ratings points are then tallied into the junior surfers’ regional rankings with the top five men and top two women qualifying for the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships held in Australia at the beginning of each year. The ASP World Junior Championships boast marquee former champions such as Joel Parkinson (AUS), Andy Irons (HAW), Adriano de Souza (BRA) and reigning ASP World Junior Champ Jordy Smith (ZAF), ensuring that the pedigree is both well-respected and a necessary platform to surfing stardom.
Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), who won last season’s ASP North America Pro Junior series, will be the heavy favorite going into 2007. Although short of the podium at January’s ASP World Junior Championships, Geiselman won an astounding three ASP North America Pro Junior events and made the finals in another four.
"In the off season, I have been out of town and trying to surf good waves," Geiselman said. "I spent a month and a half in the South Pacific going to Tahiti, Hawaii and Micronesia. Although I did well last year, I’m not claiming anything. I’ve got some really good boards right now and I’m going to try to surf as hard as I can."
Blake Jones (Melbourne Beach, FL), who is the only returning finalist from last year’s Billabong Sebastian Inlet Pro Junior, will be looking to improve upon last season’s stellar result drawing upon his extensive local knowledge to do so.
"I’ve been surfing there everyday and have been training hard," Jones said. "I made the finals last year and I am hoping for better this year. It is important to get a good result and get that momentum going, but although I’ll be serious this season, I’m just going to have fun. I will be doing all the events with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the ASP World Junior Championships."
Sage Erickson (Oxnard, CA), who won the last year’s Billabong Pro Junior sending her to the World Juniors, understands the importance of a victory at Sebastian and is hungry for a repeat performance.
"Last year was a big leap for my surfing," Erickson said. "There are only two events for the girls and I qualified through this one last year. The Billabong Pro Junior is my most important event of the year because it offers the potential for qualifying for the ASP World Junior Championships. Nicola Atherton (2006 ASP World Junior Champion) gets the seed this year which really gives her a step up in the ratings. My main goal is to do well on the ASP WQS and qualify for the ASP Women’s World Tour. This is where it starts."
The Billabong Sebastian Inlet Pro will begin on March 3 and will be webcast LIVE on www.billabongpro.com.
For more information, log onto www.aspnorthamerica.org.