Wave of local talent primed for regional surfing titles
By TONY WHITE
HIGHLY ranked ASP Pro Junior Circuit performer Laurie Towner, WQS competitor Matt Jones and the innovative Zane Byrne will highlight a strong contingent of local surfers vying for honours at the Surfing Far North Regional Titles at Yamba this weekend.
Angourie-based Towner enjoyed the biggest win of his short career when he won the inaugural event on this year's Pro Junior Circuit, The Globe Jetty Pro at Bells Beach, and has subsequently had several top 10 finishes on the Australian tour.
The 18-year-old, who honed his skills during the annual big surf season in Hawaii, has been in dynamic form, particularly suited in big surf.
Jones, a 25-year-old journeyman, recently finished fifth in the annual Rip Curl MP Classic at Burleigh Heads. He has some solid performances on the WQS circuit and the stylish goofy footer ranks as a major contender in the open men's division.
Zane Byrne, the son of Al Byrne, is part of the new guard of progressive surfers pushing surfing to its limits.
In the junior section, Angourie Boardriders Club members Jim and Gunther Barwick are expected to be prominent.
About 200 competitors have entered for round one of the titles at Yamba. The second round will be held at Cabarita and round three at Byron Bay.
Following the Byron Bay round a team will be selected for the opens men's state titles in Maroubra; the masters, men's and all women's state titles in Port Macquarie, and; the junior state titles in Coffs Harbour.
Organiser Chris Jennings said the regional titles were likely to be held at Turners Beach.
A barbecue will be provided today and the presentation will take place at the Pacific Hotel, Yamba, following completion of the event mid-afternoon tomorrow. Heats are scheduled to commence from 7.30am today.