Jayke Sharpe battling it out for second place in the final of the 2008 Billabong Pro Junior.
Jayke Sharpe battling it out for second place in the final of the 2008 Billabong Pro Junior. The Coffs Coast Advocate

All that glitters isn't gold in surfing

THE talk was of 'extreme pressure' at Bells Beach last weekend, as local surfers Heath Joske and Jayke Sharpe battled out the final of the Billabong Pro Junior.

Sharpe had earlier relegated another Coffs surfer, Madison Williams, into third place in the semis but fell to his rival Joske in the final.

Theseresults take all three lads a step closer to the dream of a ticket to the pro world circuit but for now, the rewards come from adulation among their peers and the satisfaction of a job well done.

If they're looking to make the big dollars, they're probably in the wrong game.

Latestratings released by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Australasia show the coastline between Crescent Head and Mullaway is well-represented by top-liners.

But it's only when the column showing prize money earnings is examined does is become clear how much talent and hard work it takes, to even get a sniff at making a passable living.

Take the case of high profile Emerald Beach-based longboarder, Harley Ingleby, currently holding the number three ASP rating, but earning a total of $1750 for his efforts.

That puts him $250 in front of another Coffs local, Jared Neal, currently rated number four.

Paul Scholten of Emerald Beach also gets a top ten finish despite 'raking in' $700.

Crescent Heads longboarder Jodie Barsby sits at number 20, despite having a zero balance in the earnings column.

In the WQS (World Qualifying Series) senior women's rankings, Angela Keighran of Mullaway appears atNo 65 with earnings of $1200 in a career total of the princely sum of$1900.

Angela still appears in seventh positionon the junior list where she's credited with $2250, well in arrears oftop-rated Sally Fitzgibbon, whose bank account has improved by only $6700 lately, adding strength to the claims women in sport get a raw deal.

Ellie-Jean Coffey came to Macaulays from Crescent Head this week to ride in Grom Search and at the end of the event, her ASP rating came in at number 17 - she's made $800 - while atnumber 19, Sawtell's Kira Townshend boasts prize money of $200.

Even Shaun Cansdell, having his share of ups and downs but still hanging inthere with a WQS 28 rating, has only banked $25,166 lately and while career earnings may be nudging $300,000, it's doubtful Shaun will be ordering a new Lamborghini soft top.

But back to those young blokes, Joske and Sharpe, who gave it their all at Bells on the weekend. Both have now qualified for the ASP Billabong World Pro Junior Championships and a crack at some extra dollars.

Heath is now rated second behind Stuart Kennedy and has taken home a total of$14,200. Jake is rated fourth with $10,800 in the kitty.

To be fair, some of the better-known surf stars have sponsors and the monies they receive from these arrangements remains private.

Still, they must love it, to keep turning up again and again.

It may lead to fame and a better than average suntan but it's hardly a certain path to untold fortune.

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