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Surfing - 31. March 2008.


AUSTRALIAN surfing's in-form star Laura Enever has racked up a win on the Australasian junior tour by taking her respective division in the Motorola Pro Junior at Merewether in Newcastle.


The current U/18 world amateur champion, Wright (Culburra, NSW ) sealed his maiden junior tour victory at Taranaki in New Zealand just a fortnight ago and today he edged out close mate Dean Bowen (Gerroa, NSW) in small offshore conditions.

Wright had announced to all challengers he was going to be the surfer to beat at this event, when he locked in a 19.5 out of a possible 20 during the round of 96 on day two.

"I came here really wanting to win this to get back-to-back wins," the 18-year-old said.

"There was only a couple of waves coming through and I surfed them the best I could."

Wright said good mate Bowen was a bit unlucky.

"Dean's full power. He could get an 8.5 in his sleep out there if a wave came –luckily I had priority and held him off," Wright said.

Wright showed some emotion in dedicating his win to personal mentor and long time shaper Laurie Byrne, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.

He was keen to get the presentation over so he could get on the phone and give Byrne a call.

"I dedicate this win to Laurie Byrne – he's the man. He's coached us and he's shaped mine and Deano's boards.

"He's just a great guy. He's in his second round of chemo right now and we are doing our best for him," Wright said.

In the Motorola Pro Junior girls event, current world and Australian junior champion Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa) was upstaged by rival Laura Enever (North Narabeen) in the dying minutes of their final match up.

Enever, who has had five Pro Junior victories in her career, matched Fitgibbons' 9.65 with less than two minutes on the clock to give her a victory total of 16.65 to Fitgibbons' 13.20.

The power-house duo and future of Australian surfing have been in fierce competition for years, with Enever's triumph today turning the tables on Fitzgibbons, who took out a WQS event on the Central Coast less than a fortnight ago.

"We've been in finals plenty of times together, I can't remember how many," 16-year-old Enever said.

"I thought she was going to have it and then I was like, who cares?

"I'll see what happens so I just waited for so long and was so stoked when that wave came along.

"I think we're going to be rivals forever I guess and the only way I can beat Sal is to go big, so I just went big and it paid off."

Earlier in the day at the Jagged Reef Cup, Port Macquarie's Matt Banting announced his future potential by making it through to both the U/14 and U/16 final.

Current NSW U/14 champion, Banting dominated the U/14 final with a 9.5 off his third wave. He defeated Jake Scott from Malabar and Cooper Chapman from North Narrabeen.

However Banting couldn't back up that victory in the U/16 final, placing third behind Merewether's Jake Sylvester and eventual winner Jordi Watson from Currarong on the NSW South Coast.

Tomorrow sees the start of the 4-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) Mark Richards Pro, with 176 surfers ready to hit the waves over the next week for a shot at the $US80,000 prize packet.

The only locals competing in tomorrow's heats of the main event at Surfest will be Merewether duo Rhys Smith and Travis Lynch, while Catherine Hill Bay's Lincoln Robards will also take to the water.

The men's round of 176 is set to start at 7:30am, with the round of 160 set down for 1:18pm.

The number one seed in this event is Jeremy Flores from France. Former world champion Sunny Garcia has received a wildcard into the event.

Also kicking off tomorrow is the 6-star WQS Midori Pro Women's event.

Current world and Australian champion Stephanie Gilmore will be the event's number one seed.

She will battle the likes of Amee Donohoe (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS) and Megan Abubo (HAW) for a chance to take home $US35,000 and rack up early season points on the WQS.
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