Bells ring for Laurie
ANGOURIE'S teenage surfing sensation Laurie Towner believes Bells Beach is his best chance of taking out the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Australasian Junior series.
With two rounds of the series to go the country's best 20 and under aged surfers are gearing up for a final dogfight at Bells Beach, Torquay.
The Billabong Pro-Teen Series final beginning on September 27 will decide the 2006 junior men's and women's titles following nine events including more than 250 of the countries best surfers.
The ultimate event will determine the top five junior men and top two junior women to contest the 2006 ASP Billabong World Junior Championships at North Narrabeen in January, regarded as the premier junior event on the planet.
As it stands, the seven-star rated Billabong Pro-Teen final is the paramount competition for 2006, the extra points on offer making it viable for surfers ranked outside the top five to qualify for the professional world junior titles.
The winner of the junior men's Bells Beach final will also be awarded a highly coveted direct wildcard into the world junior championships regardless of their ASP Australasian ranking.
Towner is in the box seat for the junior men's title.
Strong wins in Victoria and New Zealand have put the natural footer 218 points clear of dangerous South Coast rookie Owen Wright (Culburra).
"I want to make at least the quarter, semis or final in the next two events and hopefully win the series," said Towner.
"If Manly is small and hard to surf, and I don't perform too well, I'm glad the final contest is at Bells. Having already won an event there at the start of this year I am feeling pretty confident, especially if Bells is good."
The 19-year-old qualified for the world junior titles via the trials in 2005, something he will avoid this year should he perform well in the upcoming events.
The title win would top an unbelievable year for the natural footer, one in which he was nominated for a Global Big Wave Award, rode the wave of the season in Hawaii and surfed monster waves in Tahiti alongside the world's best tow surfers.