With the event beginning on January 8, Australia's Jack Freestone has solidified himself as the man to beat going into the contest. Currently the front-runner in the ASP Junior Ratings, Freestone is coming off a monumental win in Bali where he trumped South African Dale Staples with a last-minute win in near-perfect conditions.
"The ASP World Junior Title is such an important stepping stone,” says Freestone. “To achieve what Joel [Parkinson] has done would be really, really special. When you look at the list of winners' names, every surfer has gone on to the World Tour and a solid career, and of course, I'd love to bring it home for the green 'n' gold."
Hawaii's Keanu Asing, a man with an ISA World Junior title to his name, is eyeing down a podium finish as well. As the top seed in the ASP Hawaiian Pro Junior rankings, Asing will have his work cut out for him when he dons a jersey later this week. With the proverbial bar being raised at nearly every junior event, expect to see a new brand of surfing emerge at Narrabeen.
"The performances across the board have been crazy this year," said Asing. "We've seen guys pulling new tricks, airs...just going crazy. Narrabeen is a good left and if it's firing, it could favor the goofyfooters. The Brazilians especially–they love it. We saw Jadson [Andre] doing the craziest aerials last year and guys like Miguel [Pupo] will be on fire. I think the field will be more evenly matched than what we saw in Bali. It will go down to the wire."