NORTH NARRABEEN - Kai Barger (HAW), 19, has won the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, defeating fellow Finalist Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, to claim the ASP World Junior Title.
“I’m as high as Saturn’s kite baby!” Barger said. “Out of all the incredible surfers in this event, like Dusty (Payne) and Granger (Larsen) and Julian (Wilson), I probably had the least amount of confidence, but I guess this goes to show that every dog has his day and today’s mine!”
While Andre opened up the Final with two strong scores, Barger quickly rallied, grabbing a 6.67 before usurping the Brazilian with an explosive 8.67 for a series of forehand blasts on the Narrabeen lefthanders. The Hawaiian’s 15.34 out of a possible 20 would prove too much for Andre to overtake and would see Barger crowned the newest ASP World Junior Champion.
“To be honest, I can’t remember much of the Final with all the cameras and everything,” Barger said. “It’s a blur. I had so much fun. I’m tripping out right now. I never thought this would happen to me.”
Barger now joins one of the most prestigious clubs in professional surfing with his ASP World Junior Title. Past champions include Dream Tour stalwarts such as Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 20, Adriano de Souza (BRA), 21, and fellow Hawaiian’s Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23, and three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), 30.
“To be part of such a crazy group of surfers feels amazing,” Barger said. “I really don’t have the words to express how it feels. It’s crazy, and to be given the preferred seed on the ’QS is going to help so much.”
In addition to the prestigious ASP World Junior Title, Barger is also awarded preferred seeding into all ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events in 2009 – a great advantage in the qualification quest for the elite ASP World Tour.
Andre, the No. 1 seed in the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships, put in an incredible performance at North Narrabeen today, including his acquisition of the event’s only perfect 10, but was unable to overtake Barger in the Final.
BILLABONG ASP WORLD JUNIORS (MEN) FINAL:
1 – Kai Barger (HAW) 15.34
2 – Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.67