09 Feb THE WILDCARD: Jacko Baker
By TED BASSINGTHWAIGHTE
Jackson ‘Jacko’ Baker was born in the John Hunter Hospital in the western suburbs of Newcastle a little over 18 years ago. Raised no more than four blocks from Merewether Beach it was probably inevitable that Jacko was going to become a very good surfer.
Watching Jackson compete as a grommet in a number of local contests over the years his transformation from a scrawny mop haired boy into the determined and talented surfer he is today it is no surprise Jackson has earned one of the Surfest wildcards into the Burton Automotive Pro.
He has done this by proving his consistency and talent against much older surfers than he.
Jackson won the 2014 Merewether Surfboard Club Open title and in doing so is the wildcard into the Burton Automotive Pro.
2014 has been a big year for the Year 12 St Francis Xavier College, Hamilton (NSW) student. Not only did he win the Merewether club open title he won the junior title again for the umpteenth time.
Jacko is a big part of Surfest. He has been competing at a range of events ever since he was able. He is a past winner of the Sanbah Cadet Cup under 16 title and was a member of a winning St Francis Xavier team in the High School Teams Challenge.
He has been a finalists in Surfing NSW State Titles and a finalist in the Open and Pro Junior divisions of the annual Surfing Newcastle professional event, the Mattara Classic.
Heading over to Hawaii as a 14 year old Jackson’s plan for the future has long been in the making. This year his plans for his surfing future will not hinge on a great result in the Burton Automotive Pro but will evolve out of a clever and well thought out schedule in consultation with his family and supporters.
Jackson will compete in as many Australian and Pacific Ocean WSL QS events and WSL Pro Jnr events he can while juggling his commitments in his final year of school as well as his part time job with Surfest sponsor Sanbah Surf.
A busy year for the young man.
So from February 16th Jackson will be tested on his home break in front of a home crowd. This well-spoken and at times garrulous young man will rise to the occasion comfortable in the knowledge that the Burton Automotive Pro is but the first step on a long path to success.