Laurie goes to town
By TONY WHITE
ANGOURIE'S Laurie Towner has swept into surfing prominence after an amazing win in the Globe Jetty Pro Junior at famous Bells Beach, Victoria yesterday.
In solid 2m waves, Towner produced a high-class performance to oust Avalon's Tom Rudd in the final after having to surf four times on the final day in the second event on the Australasian Pro Junior circuit.
"I'm just so stoked it's unbelievable," the 18-year-old said after the win.
"It was really good conditions for my type of surfing.
"I haven't won a contest for ages, I'm just so happy to win. It feels really good.
"This is real big time for me. To finally break through and win one is sensational."
One of the first to congratulate Towner after his win was mother, Jane.
"Yeah, Mum rang and she was just so happy, stoked," Towner said.
Towner has always shown a lot of potential through the past two seasons on the Australasian circuit, but until yesterday had never made a final on what is regarded as the toughest domestic professional surfing circuit in the world.
In very solid and long peeling waves, Towner was the surfer who always looked like winning, as he showed his liking for bigger waves, which allowed for his powerful approach to surfing to shine through.
Towner opened strongly in the final with a 7 point ride and mid-way through backed that score up with another 7.75 ride to hold a commanding lead.
Rudd fell early on some critical waves and only found a strong scoring ride with five minutes remaining (7.75).
Towner admitted he was 'buggered' after a gruelling final day.
"We had to surf four times and in my semi-final I was really buggered," he said.
"I didn't get a break because I had a free surf before the semi and had to go straight out again. There is a lot of paddling at Bells.
"This is my first Pro Junior win and I'm just really stoked.
"I felt I had a good board (shaped by Dillon Longbottom on the Gold Coast) and I just felt pretty confident and good.
"I wasn't thinking I could win or anything, but once I got into the quarter-finals I thought anything that happened from there was a bonus."
Towner came from behind in his quarter final with a 9.5 cracker late to defeat Sunshine Coast surfer Julian Wilson, then beat highly-rated South African surfer Jordy Smith in his semi final when Smith slipped from his board needing only a four point ride to advance to the final.
After returning from his fourth trip to surfing's mecca Hawaii recently, Towner went within a whisker of defeating defending champion, Brazilian Pablo Paulini, in round three of the Billabong World Junior Championships at Narrabeen in early January.
In Hawaii, Towner created a huge impression, particularly in bigger waves. Bells proved to his liking.
"I certainly enjoy surfing Hawaii and love the challenge of big surf," Towner said.
"Bells this weekend has sort of been big, nothing compared to Hawaii, but big enough to allow for long clean powerful moves and I guess that's what I prefer.
"It's been a lot of fun surfing these waves. I think we're all happy."
Towner will now head to infamous Gunnamatta Bay on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula for the Balin Pro Junior beginning this week.