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News provided by ASP World Tour on 5 January 2006

Jessi Miley-Dyer was one ecstatic lady today after she became the inaugural winner of the Billabong World Junior Championships women’s division held at Narrabeen Beach, Australia.

The proud Australian goofyfooter blitzed the field early in the event and then went on to claim the final against good friend and fellow Bronte Beach, Sydney stablemate Nicola Atherton 14.00 out of 20 to 12.40.

Held in wind-affected one metre (three foot) conditions, Miley-Dyer shot off to an early lead with two solid rides but toward the end found it difficult to consolidate on the lead as Atherton scored an 8.0 and edged back into contention.

In the dying seconds Atherton clambered onto a wave that looked like it could potentially allow her to score the 5.83 that she needed to take the lead and as the heat ticked down the crowd was on its feet.

The judges lodged the score – a 4.23 out of 10 – and it wasn’t enough. Miley-Dyer was announced as being the new world champion.

Miley-Dyer beamed after the final as she was immediately swamped by well wishing family, friends and media.

“I got my two best waves earlier in the heat and then she scored an 8.0,” said Miley-Dyer. I was so nervous because she’s a very good surfer and she was very capable of getting the score that she needed. I was just sitting out there willing the ocean to go flat. And in the end I was paddling around just trying to keep her off waves. It’s bad thing to do but it had to be done and… well it was worth it!”

The win was made extra special by the fact that Miley-Dyer was surfing with one of her good friends in Atherton and, being a local Sydney girl, she was able to compete in front of a mass of family and friends.

“Nicola and I have grown up together at Bronte Beach,” she said while trying to catch her breath, “It was so great to surf against Nicola and to share that experience with her. I’m a Sydney girl through and through and I had all my family, aunties, uncles and friends down here watching me so I’m just so stoked to win it in front of them.”

Atherton was extremely gracious in defeat and gave Miley-Dyer some big raps. She also wished her well on her first year as an ASP Women’s World Tour competitor (Miley-Dyer qualified for the elite tour in 2005 after competing on the ASP’s second tier tour, the World Qualifying Series).

“Jessi is a fantastic surfer and I knew coming into this she would be the one to beat,” she said. “Full credit to her. She’s the best competitor here and she’s a deserved world champion. It’s a fantastic launching pad for her career.”

Atherton, who claimed a major scalp in the quarter-finals when she defeated Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), showed signs of disappointment but was still very pleased with her result. The experience was a learning curve and she will no doubt be back in winner’s circles very soon.

“I’m happy but at the same time a bit disappointed,” said Atherton. “To take out someone of the likes of Stephanie Gilmore and then not win was a downer but really to get this result is all good. It was a great learning experience for me. It was the first time I’d surfed in a format like that of the world championship tour. You have to lose sometimes before you can win.”

And while the ladies will be celebrating tonight the men will have to be on their best behaviour as their event could potentially wrap up tomorrow, depending on the conditions.

Contest Director Luke Egan is confident that the swell will stick around and the predominant rights handers that we have seen throughout the week will be pumping through yet again.

Early in the day the standout of the men’s division was Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) who used his solid frame and low centre of gravity to great effect in his heat against Eduardo Rolins (BRA). Bacalso claimed the win scoring a whopping 17.84 out of 20 to Rolins’ 11.66. He now holds the two highest heat score totals of the event.

Showing great fitness Bacalso was a wave catching machine paddling into swells one after the other and on one particular wave he blazed through some powerful gouges which threw spray everywhere and was rewarded with a 9.17.

“I just kind of stumbled into it out there,” said Bacalso. “We had a wave exchange and I was paddling back out and was out of breath. But I caught a wave and had to make the most of it. It’s really tricky out there. The tide is filling in and it’s just really hard but if you pick one out there, there can definitely be some fun waves.

Bacalso will now come up against Dion Agius (AUS) who also won through to round four. Interestingly enough the pair have been housemates while staying at Narrabeen.

“It’s going to be interesting when we meet tomorrow,” said Bacalso. “I don’t know whether we’ll talk to each other tonight or tomorrow!”

Defending Billabong World Junior Championships title holder Pablo Paulino (BRA) won a nail biter ahead of Australian Laurie Towner.

Grabbing a wave right on the final bell Paulino came from behind and will live to fight another day.

“I am proud to get through the heat,” said Paulino through an interpreter. “I was watching Laurie Towner through the contest and I knew it was going to be hard. I was happy to get the wave at the end of the heat and beat him.”

Paulino noted too that he is feeling a little bit of pressure.

“I am feeling the pressure a bit,” he said. “I am now in the fourth round and it is going to get much harder from here. I feel I can do it but I will just take it one heat at a time.”

Girls Results:

Semi Finals
Semi 1:
Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 16.16 def Nikita Robb (ZAF) 9.84
Semi 2:
Nicola Atherton (AUS) 9.83 def Mizuki Hagiwara (JPN) 7.73

Miley-Dyer 14.00 def Atherton 12.40

Men’s Results:

Round Three:
Heat 1:
TJ Barron (HAW) 12.33 def Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 12.10
Heat 2:
Hank Gaskell (HAW) 15.34 def Yujiro Tsuji (JPN) 10.93
Heat 3:
Granger Larson (HAW) 12.17 def Keegan Nel (ZAF)
Heat 4:
Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 15.67 def Hermes Tomas (BRA) 11.93
Heat 5:
Dion Agius (AUS) 14.83 def Sterling Spencer (USA) 11.83
Heat 6:
Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 17.84 def Eduardo Rolins (BRA) 11.66
Heat 7:
Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 13.67 def Rhys Bombaci (AUS) 11.50
Heat 8:
Pablo Paulino (BRA) 14.00 def Laurie Towner (AUS) 13.10
Heat 9:
Dustin Cuizon (HAW) 13.17 def Beau Walker (AUS) 9.33
Heat 10:
Alex Gray (USA) 13.23 def Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 12.50
Heat 11:
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.67 def Jody Smith (ZAF) 9.16
Heat 12:
Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.50 def Tiago Camarao (BRA) 12.10
Heat 13:
Bobby Hansen (NZL) 13.67 def Shaun Payne (ZAF) 11.43
Heat 14:
Brian Toth (PRI) 16.17 def Romain Lauhle (FRA) 9.83
Heat 15:
Jean da Silva (BRA) 15.67 def Kai Barger (HAW) 6.90
Heat 16:
Jeremy Flores (REU) 16.50 def Leandro Bastos (BRA) 12.36

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