Jake Sylvester from Newcastle and Ellie-Jean Coffey from the Gold Coast have taken out the men’s and women’s divisions of the Burton Toyota Pro Junior at Surfest, the finals surfed at Newcastle yesterday. The finals of the 2013 Burton Toyota Pro Junior were held in two-to-three-foot surf at Merewether Beach the site that will play host to the ASP 6-Star Burton Toyota Pro and Hunter Ports Women’s Classic, starting today.
Sylvester, the hometown hero who also claimed this event title back in 2011, was elated with his top-of-the-podium finish over highly touted American Kanoa Igarashi. The pair both took down their fair share of big names throughout the event, but it was Sylvester who finished the event on a high, posting two excellent scores in the difficult conditions. ‘I’m psyched!’ Sylvester said. ‘To win in 2011 was great, but this is even more special. I was so close to making the ASP World Junior Championships last year, but I missed out by one spot. So to start the year off with a win is a boost to my confidence. It took me about 10 minutes to walk up the beach because everyone was patting me on the back and saying congratulations and to have that support make it all feel even better.’
Coffey, who finished second on last year’s ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series ratings, and runner-up at this event, was thrilled to overcome the reigning ASP Women’s World Junior Champion Nikki Van Dijk from Phillip Island. Coffey used her powerful backhand attack to post some excellent scores and claim her first ever ASP event win in Merewether’s righthanders. ‘I’m really happy that I won after finishing second here last year’, she said. ‘Nikki and I have been rivals over the last few years so I’m really glad to get this win. All event there’s been a few medium-sized waves that allow you to surf top to bottom and I’ve been posting good scores consistently. Then I had a good start to the final and I just tried to build on my scores, and it worked. This is my first ASP event win and I couldn’t be happier!’
Igarashi ploughed through the stacked field of talented surfers, a massive achievement for the 15-year-old Californian. Igarashi has a big bag of tricks with stylish carves and innovative airs, but hit a brick wall in the final after Sylvester nailed two near-perfect scores in the 9-point range. ‘Jake is a great surfer and he lives here and I could tell he knew the line-up really well,’ said Igarashi. ‘He knew all the waves to catch and I’ve never felt so lost in the water in my life. I’m stoked for him and I’ve really had a fun experience for my first trip to Newcastle.’
Van Dijk has her sights firmly set on elite ASP Women’s World Championship Tour qualification this year and was using the Burton Toyota Pro Junior to prepare for the ASP 6-Star Hunter Ports Women’s Classic. ‘Ellie surfed really well today,’ she said. ‘Second sucks because you came so close to winning but didn’t. I’m stoked I got to surf the contest bank and get ready for the ASP 6-Star Hunter Ports Women’s Classic next week and hopefully I can do well in that event too.’
From the ASP website: www.aspworldtour.com.