Surf pair ready to take on world
AUSTRALIAN teenagers Jack Freestone and Tyler Wright are weighing the tricky task of converting favouritism into world junior surfing championship titles.
Freestone, 18, from the Gold Coast, and Tyler Wright, 16, from Lennox Head, lead the men's and women's standings entering the deciding Billabong ASP World Junior Championships at Sydney's Narrabeen Beach starting today.
The pair seized that advantage with their victories at the other event of the ASP World Pro Junior Tour in Bali last October but face a nervous time before home fans.
Freestone is bidding to become the first Australian since Joel Parkinson 10 years ago to claim the junior men's crown.
“I keep trying not to think about it, but every day it's getting closer and closer and it's starting to creep into my mind,” Freestone said yesterday.
“I'm starting to get nervous.”
Parkinson has gone on to become a three-time Hawaii Triple Crown champion and former world championship runner-up.
“He's obviously one of the best surfers in the world,” Freestone said of Parkinson, “and he's had a pretty good career after his world juniors' run so I'd love to be where he is one day.”
“Putting your name up with all the people that've won it is a pretty good achievement as well.
“It'd probably be the biggest achievement of my life. It'd just be amazing.”
Freestone will compete in a 45-man field event plus three wildcards, while Wright's women's event will feature 17 surfers and one wildcard.
Wright says it's “pretty cool” to be in the lead but the Narrabeen beach break can be difficult.
“It's kind of tricky here, the waves can be a bit harder here than over in Bali,” Wright said.
“I really can't name who's the biggest threat because they all are. The internationals and the Aussies are all ripping right now and the level of surfing's just so high.
“You've really just got to keep consistent, so yeah, it should be fun.”