2012 ASP World Junior Champion Nikki Van Dijk at the Burton Toyota Pro Junior today. Pic Sproule/RedMonkey
MEREWETHER, Newcastle, NSW/Australia (Saturday, February 16, 2013) – The field of junior surfers that started with nearly 200 competitors has been reduced to just eight Quarterfinalists in both the men’s and women’s divisions at the Burton Toyota Pro Junior at Surfest, Newcastle, Australia today. To stay in the draw you had to be on your game with four foot (1.8 meter) waves and at times tricky conditions challenging a stacked field of Australian and International surfers.
Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Island, VIC/AUS), 2012 ASP World Junior Champion, started her 2013 Pro Junior campaign in winning form, posting impressive scores with her finely tuned carves and turns. Van Dijk will now face Bronte Macaulay WA/AUS) in tomorrow’s Quarterfinals.
“It’s fun out there,” Van Dijk said. “All of the girls are getting heaps of waves and it’s been a fun event so far. I was able to go out and do a few turns, it’s sunny and there’s a great vibe at this event. The Burton Toyota Pro Junior is a great warm up for next week’s ASP 6-Star Hunter Ports Women’s Classic, I’d love to win both!”
Cooper Chapman (Narrabeen, NSW/AUS) posted a near-perfect score of 9.65 (out of a possible 10) in his Round of 16 heat today. Chapman finished runner-up on the ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series last year and on current form is already one of the favourites to take top honours in 2013. He will now take on Kanoa Igarashi (USA) in tomorrow’s Quarterfinals.
“The wave are starting to fire!” Chapman said. “Hopefully it’s this good for the finals tomorrow. I’ve been having a shocker in man-on-man heats lately, so it’s something I’ve been trying to work on and hopefully that pays off tomorrow.”
Leonardo Fioravantu (ITA) is one of only two internationals left in the men’s draw at the Burton Toyota Pro Junior. Fioravantu battled through two tough heats today, using his progressive brand of surfing to advance to the Quarterfinals where he will match-up against hometown hero Jake Sylvester (Newcastle, NSW/AUS).
“I’m really stoked to be in the Quarterfinals,” Fioravantu said. “This is already a good result for me and hopefully I can keep it going and make the Final. Everyone in the Quarterfinals is capable of winning the event, so I will have to be on my game tomorrow. At home we have some good waves, but it’s not as consistent as here in Newcastle.”
Tomorrow the Newcastle crowds will no doubt be out in full force to support the last local in the men’s draw and past event champion Jake Sylvester (Newcastle, NSW/AUS). In his Round of 32 bout this morning Sylvester posted the highest two-wave heat-total of the event thus far – 17.90 (out of a possible 20). His hunger to win at home and his local knowledge will see him as one of the final day favourites.
“You can’t worry about other surfer’s scores all the time in your heat,” Sylvester said. “I was a bit nervous and just wanted to get through the heat and make it to the man-on-man heats. I’ve got a good early morning routine going here at Merewether and there’s no reason to change it. I’m looking forward to Finals day and next week’s ASP 6-Star event!”
About the 2013 Surfest Newcastle Australia
The 2013 Surfest Newcastle Australia features the Burton Toyota Pro (Men’s ASP 6-Star) and the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic (Women’s ASP 6-Star), along with eight supporting events. The event is made possible with the support of Burton Toyota, the Hunter Sports Sports Group, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Government through Destination NSW. Surfest Newcastle Australia is conducted over 12 days from February 13-24 at Merewether beach, a recognised Australian National Surfing Reserve. Merewether is home to festival patron and Australia’s most accomplished men’s world professional surfing champion, four-time world champion Mark Richards (1979-82) and presents the winner a trophy in his likeness. 2013 marks the festival’s 28th year and with over 800 national and international competitors, Surfest Newcastle Australia is the largest festival of surfing in the southern hemisphere. Get up-to-the minute updates, photos and interviews, as well as the program of events at surfest.com ; follow us on Facebook or Twitter and download the BOXT app from the App Store or Google Play (four digit code SURF).