COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (Saturday Feb. 16, 2008) - New Zealand’s Page Hareb (Taranaki) put a halt to ASP World Junior Champion Sally Fitzgibbons’s (Geroa, NSW) recent winning streak by defeating the Australian in a fiercely fought Final, to win the Billabong Pro Junior Series – Coffs Harbour today.
Competing in powerful one meter waves at Diggers Beach, Hareb opened her account with an excellent 8.75 (out of a possible ten) and followed up with a 7.75 off her very next wave, leaving Fitzgibbons to play catch up for the remainder of their 30-minute heat.
“I was pretty nervous out there,” Hareb admitted. “Sally seems to be winning everything at the moment; she’s right on form so to beat her today was pretty special.”
While Fitzgibbons has won a total of four events this year including the 6-Star ASP World Qualifying Series event at Phillip Island and the ASP World Junior Championships in Sydney, Hareb’s win marked her first of 2008.
“Sally is pretty far ahead of us girls on the ratings so I’m definitely going to need a few more big results to catch her but I’m going to try,” Hareb promised.
“We have a great rivalry - we’re friends on land and always cheer each other on,” Hareb continued, “but when we’re in the water we do our own thing and whoever comes out on top, it’s their day.”
Currently rated fifth on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series, Hareb has enjoyed a good run of results in Australia this year.
Finishing second to Fitzgibbons at the ASP World Junior Championships, and reaching the Semi-finals of the 6-Star WQS at Phillip Island, the New Zealander is looking forward to returning home this week, for the first time since New Year’s Eve.
Despite a good showing from Fitzgibbons, who posted excellent scores throughout the event, including an 8.75 in the Final, the Australian could not find the back-up score she was looking for.
“Page surfed really well and deserved her win today,” Fitzgibbons said. “She found the best waves and sometimes the waves just don’t go your way and there’s not much you can do out there. I’m still happy with a Final and hopefully I can carry it on to the next event.”
The Semifinals saw an impressive showing from another New Zealand surfer Airini Mason. Mason took an early heat lead over Fitzgibbons and seemed to have secured her spot into the Final but was narrowly defeated in the last five minutes, her 13.00 heat score (out of a possible 20.00) just not enough to top Fitzgibbon’s 13.05.
Local surfer Angela Keighran (Diggers Beach, Coffs Harbour) had the crowd cheering throughout her Semifinal heat, but could not match the form of overall winner Hareb and was forced to settle for an equal third place.