09 Feb Cracker field set to contest HBB PRO JNR
HBB PRO JUNIOR
By TED BASSINGTHWAIGHTE
Newcastle has a reputation as a sports mad town.
Whether it be the Newcastle Knights rugby league team or the Newcastle Jets football team, right across the region there is sport being played at all levels.
In the past 12 months or so Newcastle has been host to the Special Olympics, shared the International Children’s Games with Lake Macquarie City Council and has hosted four games of the Asian Football Confederation Cup.
But it is surfing and the international flavour that Surfest brings to Newcastle that, in 2014 attracted a bunch of surfing businessmen and women to the festival.
The Hunter Business Boardriders arose out of the desire of like-minded business people who just happened to be surfers and fans of Surfest, who wanted to add value to their experiences while supporting junior surfing.
The Business Boardriders took naming rights to the 2014 Surfest Pro Junior.
In 2013 Merewether Surfboard Club champion Jake Sylvester won the Surfest men’s pro junior title to riotous applause and friend frenzy on Merewether Beach. A young Jackson Baker was a part of that celebration and must have been motivated to see his older surf buddy take a title in front of his home crowd.
Jackson is a top seed for the pro junior. One imagines he will be channeling the Sylvester buzz to help him win the contest.
The men and women’s pro junior title left town in 2014 with North Narrabeen wunderkind Cooper Chapman winning the men’s and top seed in the upcoming Burton Automotive Women’s Classic Bronte Macaulay from Western Australia winning the pro junior women’s.
The 2015 event, as have all other Surfest events, are over-subscribed with a number of very talented but lower WSL rated surfers in both the men and women’s contest missing out.
Jackson Baker leads the Newcastle contingent while Merewether surfer Danielle Hancock will be biting her fingernails waiting to see if she qualifies for the event. If not she will have to win the pro junior wildcard at the Burton Automotive Wildcard trails on Birubi Beach February 1st.
A surfer who has the potential to be the 2015 Hunter Business Boardriders Pro Junior champion is the immensely talented young American, Kanoa Igarashi.
Kanoa has competed in both the pro junior and main events at Surfest in the past where he lost to Jake Sylvester in the final of the 2013 event.
A lot older and obviously stronger, Igarashi will be a very short priced favourite for the 2015 pro junior title.
One thing is for sure the Hunter Business Boardriders will be at Merewether beach in numbers from February 13-15 watching their event. All their hard work and commitment to Surfest and the progression of junior surfing in Newcastle and beyond will be rewarded when they see the split watermelon smiles on the faces of the winning male and female pro junior surfers.