2008 Billabong World Juniors: Final Day

SURF: 4-6 foot and perfect
EVENTS HELD: Men's Round 4 to Final
NATURE'S CALL: After a week on non stop swell it's finally dropping a bit
PREDICTED: More fun waves for those who decide to stick around

Yesterday, with 5 Aussies left in the comp frothing to take home the glory at one of their nations most storied waves, it seemed like a safe call that one of them would pull it.

But Pablo Paulino didn't think so. Today this was his wave, his comp and his world junior title, just as it was three years ago – making him the second surfer in history to win the event twice. "I love Naar-ha-bean," said the Paulino after the win in heavily accented Portugeuse. "So good left."

Paulino isn't the loosest or most exciting surfer in the world, but the stocky, tattooed, mutton chopped and monobrowed Brazilian was a man among boys today in perfect, hollow offshore lefts. He powered past home country heroes Julian Wilson and Mitch Coleborn before smoking surprise semi finalist Charles Martin of Guadeloupe – a tiny French island in the Caribbean.

On the other side of the draw, 17 year old Tonino Benson, 2007 NSSA nationals champ, pumped through the best tube of the morning and scored a 10. He beat Romain Cloitre of France in Round 4 and in the quarters he took down Aussie Owen Wright – who was looking like a favorite to win after he beat Adriano De Souza yesterday. Benson's semi against California's great white hope Tanner Gudauskas was a full on battle. Tanner's surfing was fast, sharp and powerful but Benson's wave selection and heat strategy was a cut above. Tanner charged into a huge floater on Narrabeen's shallow and sucky end section on his last wave that could have gotten him the score he needed, but he fell on his way down. He came up punching his broken board, knowing he'd missed the brass ring (both finalists were awarded coveted Round of 96 seeds on the WQS next year) by an inch.

After that drama the final was an anticlimax. Benson was winded after surfing 3 heats and battling the raging current for the week and he let Paulino cruise to an early lead. Needing a ten near the end, Benson gamely went for broke on the vertical walls going for airs and tail whips but he couldn't pull anything down.

The 2nd place finish was definitely not a disappointment for a kid who was making his first appearance at this contest and who only got in after being awarded ASP wildcard. He got what he came for – the seed – and will be cracking the 'QS next year. Nothing was going to wipe the smile from his face. "Those were the best waves I've ever surfed in contest," he said.

Forget about New Year's, for Paulino and Benson, 2008 starts now.

Runner-up Tonino Benson


Boys Final Results:
Pablo Paulino (BRA) 15.00 def Tonino Benson (HAW) 9.93

Boys Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Tonino Benson (HAW) 14.50 def Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 13.66
Heat 2: Pablo Paulino (BRA) 16.67 def Charles Martin (GLP) 8.67

Boys Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1:Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.44 def Nicolau {{{Van}}} Rupp (DEU) 8.17
Heat 2: Tonino Benson (HAW) 14.17 def Owen Wright (AUS) 13.06
Heat 3: Pablo Paulino (BRA) 13.17 def Mitchell Coleborn (AUS) 13.00
Heat 4: Charles Martin (GLP) 15.83 def Beau Atchison (AUS) 6.54

Boys Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.50 def Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 8.00
Heat 2: Nicolau Von Rupp (DEU) 15.17 def Tatsuya Fukagawa (JPN) 5.00
Heat 3: Tonino Benson (HAW) 17.67 def Romain Cloitre (FRA) 7.37
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.{{{57}}} def Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 9.00
Heat 5: Pablo Paulino (BRA) 12.24 def Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.67
Heat 6: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 11.60 def Jayke Sharpe (AUS) 11.16
Heat 7: Beau Atchison (AUS) 8.66 def Josh Redman (ZAF) 6.{{{90}}}
Heat 8: Charles Martin (GLP) 15.77 def Chris Waring (USA) 9.17

For more on the Billabong World Juniors, visit www.BillabongPro.com