Chris Friend out of Hurley Burleigh

Local surfer Chris Friend after his disappointing wave-starved quarter final at the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior on Monday. Photo: Steve Robertson
Local surfer Chris Friend after his disappointing wave-starved quarter final at the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior on Monday. Photo: Steve Robertson

Twin Waters surfer Chris Friend went down to Brazilian Miguel Pupo in a wave-starved quarter final of the Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior this week to finish in equal fifth place.

It is still a strong opening season result for Friend, who will now surf the MP Classic this weekend and then on to the second major Pro Junior event of the season, the Oakley Pro Junior at North Stradbroke Island on February 3.

Lennox Head’s Owen Wright began his 2009 season in perfect style, taking out the Gold Coast event in tricky 2-3ft 0.5-0.8m) point break waves on Monday.

On the day when we like to celebrate our national achievements, Wright made certain an Aussie lifted the prestigious junior crown, recording a two-wave combined total of 18.50 (out of a possible 20) to outclass Brazilian Miguel Pupo in an exciting, man-on-man final.

A thrilled Wright said winning his first Burleigh crown was made extra special by the Australia Day festivities.

“I dug deep and did Australia proud,” he said.

“My friends and family were all on the hill supporting me, so I felt like I was due for a win. I think I did myself proud as well.”

Burleigh Heads yet again provided the ideal forum for the final day of competition, with a mass of people lining the point as the world’s hottest 20-years and under surfers went head-to-head in search of junior series glory.

Wright, 19, lived up to his reputation as one of the brightest young surfing prospects in the world, blasting past defending event champion and No.2 seed Tamaroa McComb (Central Coast) in the quarters and under-18 world junior champion Alejo Muniz (Brazil) in the semi-final before dispatching Pupo in the championship final.

The lanky goofy foot, who has only recently relocated from Culburra on the New South Wales south coast to the right hand point break of Lennox Head, proved unstoppable in the extended 30-minute final, flexing his superior competition repertoire to set up victory with a pair of 9.25s.

Despite Pupo hitting back with an 8.90 late in the exchange, Wright held on for a decisive victory.

Wright said he was pleased to snare victory from the international contingent after his disappointing world juniors’ campaign earlier this month in Narrabeen.

“I’m stoked to bag a win after getting knocked out by an international surfer at the world juniors,” he said.

“They’ve really been serving it up to us over the last few events, so to get one over them is awesome. I guess I just peaked at the right time.”

Finishing equal third today was Australian Sam Wrench (Ulludulla) – his highest placed finish at an ASP Australasian rated event – and Brazilian Alejo Muniz.

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