15 October 2009, Keramas-Gianyar: In classic 4-5 foot glassy waves at Keramas Beach in Gianyar this morning, 19 year old Sam Wrench from Australia narrowly defeated Marc Lacomare of France to hoist the coveted first place trophy and a winners check for $20,000, the largest prize money purse in Pro Junior (20 years old and under) history. The total prize money for the event was $75,000 USD.
“I almost can’t believe I’m standing up here,” Wrench exclaimed from the top of the winner’s podium just minutes after being carried from the water atop the shoulders of his fellow competitors. “It will probably hit me later this afternoon, I really don’t know. But I do know that I want to thank Oakley for having such a great comp and to the local people of Bali for letting us come here and surf their waves.”
Wrench is one of the few contestants without a major surf brand sponsor, so this huge cash prize money will be very welcome. He received his invitation to compete in the event as a result of Owen Wright not being able to attend. A very good turn of fortune for the young man.
Runner up Marc Lacomare was once again in the second place podium spot, having finished second to Dusty Payne of Hawaii in last year’s inaugural Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final, also held at Keramas. When asked how he felt about coming in second again he replied, “I’m happy about my result, though I was hoping to win of course. It is such a great event with great waves, and great people, I really thank Oakley making an event like this where the best Pro Junior surfers in the world can come and compete. I hope I will be back next year!”
The Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge Final took place over an 8-day period starting on October 7 and culminated in the grand final today. The objective during event was to hold the competition at the most consistent and high performance surf spot possible, and then only run the competition when the waves were at their very best, therefore the establishment of a 10-day waiting period that ran from October 7 to 17. Most days only saw 3 or 4 heats being run, therefore requiring almost the full 10 days to complete the contest.
There were a total of 18 surfers from around the world competing in the event, two from each of the previous 6 Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge events held in North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, Australia (Feb. 3-7), Lower Trestles, San Clemente, Calif. (April 28-May 2), Port Alfred, ECP, South Africa (May 1-3), Etapa Itajai, Brazil (May 19-24), Shidashita Point, Chiba, Japan (Aug. 7-9), and Grand Plage, Lacanau, Gironde, France (Aug. 13-17) and 6 wildcards.
Two Indonesian surfers also competed in the event, Mustofa Jeksen as the winner of the Trial event held at Keramas on October 6, and Dewa Made Ardika as Oakley Indonesia’s wildcard entry. Both made it into Round 3, but did not advance any further. However, each came home $3,500 USD richer for the experience.
Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge is a unique specialty series launched by Oakley in 2008 to give young surfers the opportunity to compete at some of the best surfing locales around the world. After a hugely successful inaugural year, the 2009 series acquired international momentum and qualifying became a main priority for many of the world’s top juniors.
1. Sam Wrench (AUS)
2. Marc Lacomare (FRA)
3. Kai Barger (HAW)
3. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
4. Granger Larson (HAW
4. Clay Marzo (HAW)
4. Charly Martin (FRA)
4. Brendon Gibbons (ZAF)
5 Jesse Mendez (BRA)
5. Nat Young (USA)
5. Davey Cathels (AUS)
5. Mustofa Jeksen (IND)
5. Dewa Made Ardika (IND)
5. Shaun Joubert (ZAF)
5. Arashi Kato (JAP)
5. Billy Stairmand (NZL)
6. Noa Deane (AUS)
6. Dillon Perillo (USA)
Text and Photos: Tim Hain – Coca-Cola ISC Tour