Billabong team rider Shaun Joubert won the Oakley Pro Junior title for the third time in as many years on Saturday to write his name into the ASP Africa record books as the first surfer to win the same event three times in succession since the local tour was inaugurated in 1988.
"That's pretty cool and an honour when you consider how many other great surfers have competed in Pro Junior and Open events over the years," Joubert commented when informed of his historic achievement.
The superstar from Mossel Bay, who turns 19 today, posted a stellar performance to defeat reigning ASP Africa Pro Junior Champion Chad du Toit in the final of the ASP Grade-2 rated event at Port Alfred.
Competing in outstanding 1.5 metre waves at Eastern Beach, Joubert fell behind early in the final as du Toit surged into the lead. Needing a substantial 8.25 points for the lead at the halfway point, Joubert scored exactly that on an inside wave that he worked all the way through to the inside. But du Toit regained the lead with a 7.50 before the champion clinched the title on a set wave where he used his full repertoire of high performance manoeuvres to record a near-perfect 9.5 out of 10.
"Whenever we get to surf a contest in good waves I'm sure not too many guys complain," Joubert said of the excellent conditions, adding "I'm just happy to be back and get a good result. It was pretty obvious that Chad was the man to beat and he put me under pressure with his first seven (point ride). I blew my first two waves, so I was lucky more waves came to me."
Having set winning the ASP Africa Pro Junior title as his main goal for 2010, Joubert's haul of 1 500 points from the event has consolidated his lead at the top of rankings after three of the four events have been completed.
"It's not always possible to achieve your goals, and I haven't done the maths, but it looks like I'm well placed to achieve that goal this year, which will be great!"
He also earned an early birthday present of US $2 500 (approx. R18 750), taking his 2010 Pro Junior winnings to R37 000 after his victory in the first event of the year in Durban at Easter.
The ultra-talented teenager from the Southern Cape also placed highly in several ASP Pro Junior events in Australia earlier in the year and attended a Billabong high-performance training camp in Hawaii. On the ASP World Tour he has recorded results of 37th and 17th in 6-Star rated events in Tasmania and Scotland to be ranked No. 146 on the combined ASP World Rankings list with further earnings of R24 000.
"I'd like to really thank Greg Emslie (former ASP World Title contender) for looking after me in the lead-up to this event. And also Billabong and all my other sponsors for supporting me over the years, even when I wasn't doing as well," Joubert said.
Joubert leaves next week for Brazil where he will compete in several ASP 5 and 6-Star events during May before competing in the 6-Star event in Sri Lanka in June and the Mr Price Pro Ballito in July in an effort to boost his ASP World Ranking and make the cut-off for the ASP Prime rated events, which are held in premium venues with a restricted field, in the second half of the year.
Joubert's Billabong team mates also fared well at Port Alfred where Australian Ryan Callinan placed third after losing to the champion in the semifinals while Dale Staples (St Francis Bay), the winner of the Billabong Pro Junior Dolphin coast on Tuesday, placed 5th overall.
Submitted: Sunday 02 May 2010