Sally set for pro
By GREG WHITE
THE girls may be riding the waves for much less prize money than the boys but there's no doubt the big drawcard at the Billabong Pro Junior starting in Coffs Harbour today is World ASP Junior Champion, Sally Fitzgibbons.
The 17-year-old from Gerroa, just south of Wollongong, actually became the nation's first World title-holder for 2008 when she thrashed her rivals at North Narrabeen on January 7.
She recorded a two-wave score of 16.77 points in the final to defeat New Zealander Paige Hareb, who scored 7.84 points Hareb will again be in the contingent taking to the water today.
While the event is set down for Macauleys Headland and will continue until Sunday, spokesperson Andrew Lindsay said last night a final decision would be made on whether a shift to Diggers Beach would be more appropriate.
"The forecast is for a southerly change that will continue well into the weekend," he said.
"So, if spectators arrive at Macauleys and don't see action, they'll know where to go from there."
Ten locals will hit the water after Jayke Sharpe, Madison Williams, Heath Joske, Alex Swadling, Otis Carey, Justin Turk, Eli Sharp, Billy Kean, Angela Keighran and Kira Townsend lodged entry forms.
The field has 128 entries in the boys division chasing $10,000 prize money while 32 girls will battle for their $3000 share of the purse.
Andrew Lindsay said Coopers Surf had again organised what's become an annual highlight, a three-hour beach party from 6pm at their Park Beach Plaza store.
"This is where everybody's invited to come along and meet some of the biggest names in surfing," he said.
"Mark Occhilupo is sure to be the big attraction and he'll be joined by Wade Goodall, Laurie Towner and all the local competitors.
"We'll have a DJ playing from 4.30pm and we just want people to have fun."
A live video feed will be streaming during the contest, accessible from the Surfing Australia website.