America’s top Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) North America Pro Junior Series surfers are getting fired up to showcase their talent at the prestigious Billabong ASP World Junior Championships to be held in Narrabeen, Australia from January 3-10, 2009. The states will send six men and three women to this year’s coveted contest in an attempt to claim the title of ASP World Junior Champion.
All ASP North America Pro Junior Series competitors dedicate their entire regional season in hopes to earn a spot at the upcoming event in Australia where they have the chance to attain an ASP World Junior title.
The 2008 season saw the top five men’s competitors on the junior series, Cory Arrambide (Ventura, CA), 19, Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 17, Andrew Doheny (Newport Beach, CA), 16, Travis Beckmann (Vero Beach, FL), 20, and Blake Jones (Melbourne, FL), 20, plus the top seed of Junior age on the ASP WQS Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 20, earn berths into the event, while the top two women on the series, Christa Alves (Cocoa Beach, FL), 19, Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), 16, and wildcard Sage Erickson (Ojai, CA), 18, will represent the American women.
Arrambide, who was the ASP North America Pro Junior Series men’s champion in 2008, achieved the goal he originally set out at the beginning of the year by taking the regional series title and now the Ventura local will look to add a global championship to his list of accomplishments.
“I’m stoked to have won the junior’s in 2008,” Arrambide said. “That was the goal that I had set out for myself at the beginning of last year and now I can’t wait to go to Australia. I’ve been training and surfing as much as I can to prepare for the event and am really looking forward to the contest.”
Young, who finished second on the series behind Arrambide, won the last ASP WQS contest of the year held in the states in front of his home crowd at the O’Neill Cold Water Classic. The explosive goofy-footer is hoping to carry the confidence earned from the ASP WQS victory over to his ASP World Junior campaign.
“Winning the coldwater helped build my confidence going into worlds because there were a bunch of really good surfers in that event,” Young said. “Not only were there the best juniors from USA, but there were also some top ‘QS guys. Also, there were some juniors from Australia and Hawaii. Just beating those really good surfers helps because I know I can do it again if things go my way.”
Gudauskas, earned his ’09 ASP World Junior Championships berth by his 60th place finish in the ASP WQS, the highest of any North American competitor of junior age. Tanner, the youngest of the Gudauskas trio, was the top American finisher in last year’s Billabong ASP World Junior Championships with a third place finish, and now the young talent will look to take the title home to America in his final year of eligibility for the event.
“I am looking at the WJC this year with a new slate and enthusiasm to do well,” Gudauskas said. “I know that there are going to be a ton of great surfers, so I don’t have anything to lose by trying my hardest and leaving it all in the water. I feel like I have gained more experience just through all of the WQS events that I have done, so I am stoked to try and put some of my knowledge down on the mat.”
With past champions such as Andy Irons, (Hanalei, HI), 30, Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, AUS), 27, and Adriano De Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 21, the young Americans know that a win at the event has the potential to set them up for a successful professional career.
“A win would mean the world,” Gudauskas said. “Right now I want to prove that I can have my name at the top of the junior world and can surf just as well as anyone. I would be so stoked to bring home a world title. It’s definitely not going to be easy with how many good guys are going to be there, but I am just going to give it my all and see where the cards end up.”
Conlogue, who was the top American female finisher last year at the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships with a third place result, is heading back to Australia in 2009 in hopes to take home her first ASP World Junior title. The explosive talent from Orange County, California knows that a victory will be no easy task and does not expect a standout repeat performance to come easily.
“I know going into this event that I will face some of the best from around the world,” Conlogue said. “Every year there will be new competitors that maybe I haven’t faced before, so I have to go into each and every event with a fresh start. Last year’s results have nothing to do with this year’s event and I just hope to do the best that I can.”
The Billabong ASP World Junior Championships will run from January 3-10, 2009 and will be webcast live via billabongpro.com