After a boom inaugural year in 2008, the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters heralded its return, back and bigger than ever, with some cracking performances by the Northern Beaches’ best surfers. It was David Vlug who took the spoils of victory at Curl Curl, the first Qualifier in the 2009 series on June 20.
With the backing of Mick Fanning and Red Bull hopefully these events will produce the next World Champion
"I'm so stoked with the win!" David Vlug said after revelling in the tricky conditions. Highlighted by rain squalls, heavy gusts and on-shore winds, the day resembled a nightmare on land, but with the best juniors on the Northern Beaches tearing the shifting peaks apart, the crowd was treated to some blistering action in the water. "The conditions were definitely tough, but they were tough for everyone, so there was no advantage out there," he added modestly, after taking the final with a combined heat total of 7.64 (of a possible 20).
Defeating Cooper Chapman (North Narrabeen, NSW), Blake Levett (Manly, NSW) and James Lange (Avalon, NSW), who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Vlug was the standout competitor throughout the event. Racking up the two highest combined heat totals, a 14.26 and 16.24 (of a possible 20) in the semi-final and quarter-final, Vlug was a deserved champion. "I felt super confident going into the event," he said with the winner’s medal draped around his neck. "Having made the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters final last year I’m extremely focused on returning back to that level of competition," Vlug added. "It’s where I want to be."
To be held across NSW and QLD this June, July and August, the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters, presented by Mick Fanning, allows tomorrow’s stars an opportunity to launch their surfing careers, something that Chapman admires about the series. "For the younger competitors these events allow us to compare, compete and test ourselves against the older guys," the 15 year-old said after finishing second. A series of six qualifying events will take place in various beaches including Curl Curl, Newcastle, Werri Beach, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Bondi with the trials and finals being held in Croa. "I’m happy with my result today and am stoked to be going to Croa to take on the best from NSW and Queensland."
With plenty of awesome giveaways for each participant and the total prize pool for the series being over AUS$ 45,000 (about 26,000 euros); the first prize the biggest ever awarded for a junior surf event in Australia, the incentive is there for the next crop. "It’s a great initiative and one which really encourages the promotion of junior surfing within NSW," said Surfing NSW CEO, Mark Windon. "Today is a perfect example of the high-standard of talent that resides within NSW, and with the backing of Mick Fanning and Red Bull hopefully these events will produce the next World Champion."