Back in the mid '80s Burleigh Point was the scene for contest madness. Peter Drouyn had introduced the man-on-man format and the point was shoulder to shoulder with people watching the likes of Tom Curren and Tom Carroll go at it.
As a contest venue, Burleigh has faded over the past few years with the focus moving a few miles south to Snapper Rocks. But in the past month Burleigh has been pushed back into the limelight with the ASP World Pro Juniors being decided there, and the running of the 4-star Breaka Burleigh Pro, which was taken out Saturday by Julian Wilson, the 2011 ASP Rookie of the Year. Performing in front of a huge crowd was reminiscent of the Burleigh of old.
While a four-star contest doesn't garner much in the way of ASP World Tour ratings points, the Breaka Burleigh Pro certainly attracted an all-star field with perennial ASP top ten finishers Mick Fanning, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge joining Wilson in the final.
In fact, nearly a third of the 2012 Top 34 entered in the Breaka event, and virtually all of them had the same reason for competing: a warm up for the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks, which starts in two weeks. Plus, it was a chance to try out their most recent selection of boards, see what stage their fellow competitors are at in their preparations, and to get themselves back into a competition mindset.
"We enter the event to get ready for the upcoming Quiksilver Pro which begins the World Title season and through every heat here I've increased my performances, dusted away the cobwebs and feel good right now about winning," said Wilson afterward.
Of course, some weren't as enamored with their showing. Fanning said after the final that he didn't think he and Durbidge should have been there. The slight onshore conditions should have suited the younger air guys.
"I haven't competed in awhile, so it's good to see if the things I've been doing are working and get the flow on again," said Fanning as he packed up his quiver. "I would have loved to have won, but Bede and I were sort of joking that we shouldn't actually be in the final in those sort of conditions. The younger air guys should have been taking us out ..."
Josh Kerr is not necessarily a young air guy, but he is an air guy and can definitely boost. He came mouth wateringly close to winning with a 9.23-point ride that he just wasn't able to back up with another score.
"That final was so frustrating because I had nothing forever then finally got a couple (of waves) in the last 10 minutes. I actually thought I had enough on my second good wave. It was close," said Kerr.
Wilson was low key about his win. "It felt really good to make the final because I'd kinda been scraping through heats all week with second places and some tough heats," said Wilson. "It's part of the reason I entered the event to get competition practice and I certainly got it. I had to really work hard to make it through heats and I thought it was going to be all Mick when he opened up with an eight, but then it turned on for all of us toward the end. I peaked in the final and my strategies worked so I'm happy."
The top guys are getting into gear for the 2012 World Championship Tour. Miguel Pupo won the Prime event in Brazil with Gabriel Medina making the semi finals, four of the Top 34 made the Breaka final, Kolohe Andino and Matty Wilkinson made the quarterfinals.