Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Leila Hurst (HAW) have claimed the Men's and Women's ASP World Junior Titles at the Billabong World Junior Championships today.
The pair join a prestigious list of former ASP World Junior Champions, including: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Andy Irons (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). Wade Carmichael (AUS) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) were also amongst the winners today, taking out the third and final event of the ASP World Junior Title Series, the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
CAPTION: Leila Hurst (HAW) and Caio Ibelli (BRA), the 2011 ASP World Junior Champions. PIC: ASP/Kirstin
The Men's ASP World Junior Title race saw all the frontrunners bow out early today with Jack Freestone (AUS) eliminated by Medi Veminardi (REU) and Ian Gouveia (BRA) taken out by Wade Carmichael (AUS) in the Quarterfinals. Carmichael had a sensational outing at Burleigh Heads this week, gaining entry into the event with a win at the Von Zipper trials and then sticking it to the world's best junior surfers with a win at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships.
Another frontrunner, Garrett Parkes (AUS), needed to advance out of today's Quarterfinals to clinch the 2011 ASP World Junior Title, but was halted by South American sensation Filipe Toledo (BRA). Parkes's ousting in the Quarterfinals resulted in a tie with Caio Ibelli (BRA) for the top spot on the ASP World Junior Title rankings, requiring a "Surf-Off" to determine the champion.
Caio Ibelli (BRA) started the Surf-Off with a couple of minor scores, it was clear that he was going for something big. Garret Parkes (AUS) on the other hand started chipping away at the lead, posting some scores in the good range to give him an early lead. Ibelli found a wave that linked up and unleashed some solid carves and a massive air-reverse to score an 8.67 (out of a possible 10), to swing momentum his way and take the lead. Parkes had a last minute chance to claim the prestigious ASP World Junior title, needing a 7.58 (out of a possible 10), but fell less than a point short after he too landed a nice air-reverse.
"I'm so stoked to bring the ASP World Junior Title back to Brazil!" Ibelli said. "I feel so amazing now! I didn't know I had another opportunity to win, I just found out this morning. I want to thank my family, my friends and Oakley for their support. Garrett (Parkes) is a good surfer and he's at home in Australia so I knew I had to do my best."
Parkes, who missed out on qualifying for the ASP World Junior Tour in 2010, finished his junior career on a high at number 2 in the world. Parkes now has been given a priority seeding into the ASP Star and Prime events to help his chances of Qualifying for the elite ASP World Tour.
"I'm pretty devastated because I put a lot of hard work in," Parkes said. "I gave it all I could, I tried my best and I still lost. The Surf-Off was great, it gave me a second chance, but I didn't capitalise on it. It's better than doing a count back because this way it comes down to surfing."
Wade Carmichael (AUS) and Nathan Carvalho (HAW) were perfectly matched and put on an exciting Final at the Billabong World Junior Championships that won't soon be forgotten. As the clock was counting down the final seconds, Carmichael was left needing a mid-range score, he took off on a smaller wave and blasted one of the biggest fins-free turns of the event. The siren went and both surfers were floating in the lineup waiting for the scores to be announced. Carmichael only caught 2 waves in the 30 minute final, but that's all it took for him to claim an epic come-from-behind victory.
"I'm over the moon right now, this is the best day of my life!" Carmichael said. "I've been training for this for the last few months, I wanted to have a big year and this is unbelievable. I wasn't nervous that whole heat, even though I was sitting waiting for that second wave for a long time. But I was really nervous and freaking out after the heat while I was waiting for the score to be announced. Then they said I won and it was the best feeling."
Leila Hurst (HAW) was one of three surfers in the running for the ASP Women's World Junior Title this morning, but was the last one standing after front-runner Joanne Defay (FRA) lost her Quarterfinal clash. Then Philippa Anderson (AUS) bowed out of the race when she finished runner-up in the event, as she needed to win the final to claim the crown.
"I never want to be in that position again," Hurst said. "Watching a final and having no control over if I won the ASP World Title or if I lost. I was feeling so much pressure. I'm losing my mind right now, I never thought I had a chance to win this. I've only just started to do well in contests again after a run of bad results, so I had low self-esteem coming into this event. It's feel great to see what winning feels like again."
Alessa Quizon (HAW) handed the ASP World Junior Title to fellow Hawaiian when she defeated the last contender in the Final of the Billabong World Junior Championships. Quizon had been a standout performer all event, using her vertical backhand snaps to build up some big scores in each round, punctuating her performance with a solid 7.50 (out of a possible 10) in the final to win the event.
"I feel really happy, this is the best result I've had in a long time," Quizon said. "I'm so happy that Leila (Hurst) won the ASP World Junior Title. A Hawaiian gets to take the title home, I'm really stoked for her!"
Final Day Pics
The top four surfers on the ASP World Junior Ratings get priority seeding into all ASP Prime and Star event in 2012.