SYDNEY, Australia (Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007) – Following the culmination of the elite ASP Men's and Women's World Tours in Hawaii in mid December, an esteemed line-up of U21 surfers are preparing for an all important battle at the Billabong World Junior Championships, which take place at Sydney's North Narabeen, from January 2- 10, 2008.
Renowned as the most prestigious event in ASP World Junior Surfing, the winner of the Billabong World Junior Championships will be crowned 2007 ASP Junior Men's and Women's World Champions, in the first week of January.
Qualifying through their respective regional junior series tours, the top five U21 Men and top two U21 Women from eight surfing regions, as well as the highest placed WQS surfer from each region, will produce firecracker performances to see in the New Year.
Inspired by Australia's recent ASP World Tour domination at the hands of 2007 ASP Men's and Women's World Champions Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore, the Australian junior surfers will be hungry to add the 2007 ASP World Junior Crown to Australia's growing world title tally.
ASP Australasian ratings leader Mitch Coleborn (Aus) heads up a poignant Australian team which includes the highly touted ASP Australasia Pro Junior rated No. 2 Julian Wilson, who defeated 8X ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the opening round of the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast at the start of the year. Joining Coleborn and Wilson are Billabong Indonesia Pro Junior Series winner Heath Joske, Jayke Sharpe and Beau Atchison. Matt Wilkinson joins the team as the highest placed Australian junior on the ASP World Qualifying Series.
Despite this impeccable line-up, the Australian contingent can expect to feel the pressure as they take on the worlds best including, current team ratings leaders South America.
Brazil's Billabong Junior Series Champion Charlie Brown heads up a fiery South American team which includes the likes of ASP South America ratings leader Wiggolly Dantas, not to mention ASP World No. 28 and former World Junior champion Adriano De Souza, who qualified as the highest rated Brazilian junior WQS surfer.
Hawaii weigh in heavily with 3X Hawaii State Champion Casey Brown, 3X NSSA champion John John Florence, 2005 NSSA Open Men's Champion Clay Marzo and last year's equal third place finisher and highest rated junior WQS surfer Mason Ho (Haw).
The South African contingent have all the inspiration they need to make this year count thanks to ASP WQS No. 1 Jordy Smith, whose performance here last year saw him capture the first ASP World Title for South Africa since the Shaun Tomson era. Rudy Palmboom is the highest rated South African surfer in this event.
The European team is peppered with potential and sees ASP European ratings leaders Romaine Cloitre (FRA), Nicolas Von Rupp (PRT), Jatyr Berasaluce (ESP) and Adrien Valero (FRA) eager to make their mark.
Japan looks likely to put in a good showing with their top three surfers Noboyuki Osawa, Kento Takahashi and Keito Matsuoka all well versed in the waves off Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Adam Wickwire finds himself at the helm of the USA team with 2006 Pro Junior finalist and Transworld Surf's 'Top 15 to Watch' Nick Rosza as well as WQS campaigner Tanner Gudauskas alongside him.
A total field of 48 junior men, 18 junior women plus four wildcards will compete in an ASP World Tour format with man-on-man heats and priority rules, similar to those used on the elite ASP Men's and Women's World Tours.
The event kicks off with the Von Zipper Wildcard trials on Jan. 2, 2007 and will award twp places into the main event which gets underway on Jan. 3, 2007.