Billabong team rider Dale Staples put himself firmly into contention for the 2010 ASP World Junior title with a sensational runner-up finish in the Oakley ASP Pro Junior in Bali, the first of two events that will culminate in the crowning of undisputed world’s best junior surfer in Sydney, Australia in January.
The 19 year-old who learnt to surf at Kitchen Window in J’Bay had a stunning run through the 48 man field of the world’s best 20-and-under surfers before ending up just short in the final against the winner, Australian Jack Freestone.
Staples got his charge to the final underway with a comprehensive quarter final victory over No. 14 seed Evan Thompson (USA), sealing his semifinal berth with a near-perfect 9.73 out of 10 ride.
The South African then had to come back from a combo situation in the semi clash against No. 8 seed Mitch Crews (AUS). Needing to improve both his counting scores with 15 minutes left on the clock, Staples produced a 7.50 and then followed that up with another phenomenal ride of 9.33 that left the Aussie looking for 8.34 points when the siren sounded.
As the swell dropped off and the tide went out, Freestone posted a 9,57 on the first ride of the final and despite Staples having the opportunity to clinch the win on a set wave late in the heat, he was clipped as he exited the barrel and the Aussie claimed victory.
“I was just really stoked to be out there and get a good result,” said Staples. “I’m happy to beat some of the best junior surfers in the world – anyone could have been in that final.”
Staples admitted that he was anxious heading into the later stages of the finale.
“I was really nervous,” he said. “I was waiting for a set wave all final. But it didn’t come until the end. I was hoping the last one would open up but it didn’t.”
With victories in the Billabong Pro Junior on the KZN Dolphin Coast in April and the VonZipper Wild Card Shoot Out at Jeffreys Bay in July, followed by his stellar wildcard performances in outstanding overhead surf at Supertubes against the world’s top professional surfers in the Billabong Pro, Staples will be looking to emulate current ASP World No. 2 Jordy Smith (Durban) and become the second South African to clinch the ASP World Junior title in Australia in three months time.
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR FINAL RESULT:
Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.84 def. Dale Staples (ZAF) 8.44
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.84 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.83
SF2: Dale Staples (ZAF) 16.83 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 15.33
OAKLEY ASP WORLD PRO JUNIOR QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.10 def. Nat Young (USA) 13.57
QF 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.83 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.76
QF 3: Mitch Crews (AUS) 18.23 def. Kiron Jabour (HAW) 17.86
QF 4: Dale Staples (ZAF) 18.06 def. Evan Thompson (USA)