James proves he's no drip

MULLAWAY surfing sensation James Athorn powered to victory at the weekend in the Dripping Wet Pro at Curl Curl Beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches, overcoming a super strong field to move to a very comfortable lead on the Hurley NSW Championship Circuit.

In small but clean waves, the stylish 21-year-old natural footer powered his way through the draw, remaining undefeated all the way to the final.

In the deciding round, he faced former ASP World Tour surfer and Dee Why local Toby Martin, defending Dripping Wet Pro champ Paul Evans of Manly and rising Pro Junior star Alex Chacon of Avalon.

Dominating the final from the outset, Athorn opened strongly, posting a 6.0 to move to a comfortable lead.

Martin replied with an equally impressive ride to move within striking distance of Athorn.

Athorn, however, found an inside right that walled up perfectly for him to move into a series of critical forehand turns to lock in a 7.5 to extend his lead.

"I was feeling pretty confident going into the final and my first good wave held up nicely, allowing me to link a few good turns," an ecstatic Athorn said.

"I knew I needed another high scoring backup ride to get over the top of Toby and was lucky to get a good right hander that walled up nicely for me."

With Chacon and Evans finding it hard to get into rhythm, the final was left to Athorn and Martin to battle for victory.

Martin required a good-to-excellent-range score and despite giving his all in the dying minutes could not find the score he required, leaving victory for Athorn.

"James surfed really well all day and had control of the final from the outset," Martin said in praise of the Mullaway surfer.

"I knew I could get the score required if I got a decent wave in the final minutes but unfortunately I couldn't get one."

For his victory, Athorn pocketed $1200 and the maximum 1500 ratings points which now sees him open a strong lead on the Hurley NSW Championship Circuit, sitting 425 points clear of current number two Drew Courtney, who failed to back-up his good result at the Saltwater Wine Surf Classic.

A pleased Athorn will now rejoin the World Qualifying Series with great confidence from his very good recent form.

"I'm stoked with my win here at Curl Curl, especially after the fourth I got at Old Bar," said Athorn.

"It is a real confidence booster surfing against quality guys like Toby Martin, Drew Courtney and Paul Evans.

"I'm now focusing on finishing in the top 100 on the WQS this year and also maintaining my Hurley NSW Championship Circuit lead to take out the bonus $1000 at the end of the year."

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