NORTH NARRABEEN, New South Wales/Australia (Thursday, January 6, 2011) - The world's best under-21 female surfers are about to descend upon Sydney's North Narrabeen from January 8 through 16, 2011 to battle for the title of ASP Women's World Junior Champion at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
The 2010 ASP World Junior Tour is comprised of two events which crown the men's and women's ASP World Junior Champions respectively and young Australian Tyler Wright (AUS), 16, is currently the frontrunner in the race for the 2010 title heading into the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
Wright, who won the first event of the ASP World Junior Tour, the Oakley World Junior in Bali, has her sights set on this year's crown, but remains humble while acknowledging the tough task that lies ahead at North Narrabeen.
"It would mean a lot to me to win the World Juniors," Wright said. "It's just one of those things that I really want to do. North Narrabeen hasn’t been too kind to a lot of Aussies so I will need all the support and confidence I can get."
Sage Erickson (USA), 20, who has competed at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships for several years, put in a domineering performance at the Oakley ASP World Junior Championships via her entry as a wildcard, notching an equal 3rd place finish to put her in contention for the prized ASP World Junior Champion crown entering North Narrabeen.
"Coming into the Narrabeen event with an equal 3rd feels great but definitely doesn’t help with pressure," Erickson said. "I've been to this event for some years now and the talent never ceases to amaze me. This year I'm sure will be even harder. Being my last year it takes the pressure off a bit because I know the break and have a warm up that seems to work, so that's what I'll try and focus on to prepare."
The California natural-footer will be competing in her final ASP Pro Junior event at this year's Billabong ASP World Junior Championships and would be elated to punctuate her impressive career with an ASP World Junior Title before turning her focus to qualification for the ASP Women's World Tour.
"The Billabong World Junior Championships is my last Junior event ever, so winning it would mean so much to me in so many ways," Erickson said. "Having a World Title under my belt can only help my confidence, something that a surfer needs to have to be a great competitor. Also it would give me a sense of closure to my Junior career and a beneficial boost on to the ASP Women's World Ranking this year."
Erickson also feels that competing alongside the world's finest ASP Pro Junior competitors is the perfect training grounds in helping aspiring professionals to prepare for their careers on an international level.
"Events like the Billabong World Juniors help to prepare all the young aspiring surfers so much because we get a sense of competing against top competitors from around the globe in a World Tour format," Erickson said. "Not only being able to see the sort of talent that is needed to win but being able to practice and perform under pressure in a high level format, it's an important stepping stone into forming us into the surfers that we will become."
Other marquee names competing at the women's Billabong ASP World Junior Championships include defending event champion and 2011 ASP Women's World Tour rookie Laura Enever (AUS), 19, and Hawaiian Malia Manuel (HAW), 17.
The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships holds a waiting period from January 8 through 16, 2011 and will be webcast LIVE via http://www.billabongpro.com.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
A traditional Aboriginal ceremony will open proceedings. The Koomurri Performance Group will perform from 07:15am, Saturday 8th January. Interested media should be on site from 07:00am. The performance includes a "Welcome to Country" & "Smoking Ceremony", and face painting of competitors representing the various world surfing regions.
Koomurri Aboriginal Performance Group
07:15am, Saturday, Jan 8th
Billabong ASP World Junior Championships
North Narrabeen beach
The Billabong ASP World junior Championships fuelled by Monster Energy is made possible with the support of Sony, Volkswagon, VonZipper, Nixon, Australia's Surfing Life Magazine, Manly Warringah Council and NSW Sport and Recreation.
Upcoming Round 1 Billabong ASP World Junior Championships Heats:
Heat 1: Justine Dupont (FRA), Lakey Peterson (USA), Camila Cassia (BRA)
Heat 2: Sage Erickson (USA), Chantelle Rautenbach (ZAF), Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat 3: Laura Enever (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW), Minato Takahashi (JPN)
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Diana Cristina (BRA), Ellie-Jean Coffey (AUS)
Heat 5: Felicity Palmateer (AUS), Leila Hurst (HAW), Nao Omura (JPN)
Heat 6: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Alizee Aranaud (FRA), Airini Mason (NZL)
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing's undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women's World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.