By GREG WHITE
COFFS Harbour surfer Jayke Sharpe has rocketed to top ranking in the Billabong Pro Junior Surfing Series for the fourth fixture in the 11-event tournament beginning at Macauleys tomorrow.
Sharpe braved Sunday's cyclonic swell at Maroochydore, on the Sunshine Coast, to finish fifth behind local Mitch Coleborn, knocking Coolum's Julian Wilson from the top spot on the ASP Australasian rankings.
After breaking through for his maiden victory at Burleigh Heads last month, Sharpe revealed he was full of confidence for the return to his home break.
"No, I'm not feeling any pressure, I'll just go out there to do my job as I normally do," he said.
"Leading the rankings is something I never thought I'd be able to do or ever thought would happen so a good result on the waves where I've surfed my whole life would set up the rest of the Billabong series perfectly."
Developed in the early-1990's as a platform for young surfers aiming to become professionals, the $75,000 Billabong series is the country's longest standing and richest domestic junior surfing circuit.
Open to aspiring males and females aged 20 years and under, the series culminates in the crowning of an ASP World Junior Champion at North Narrabeen later in the year.
The Coffs contest begins at 7.30am each day across the five days and has attracted some of the biggest names in world surfing.
Coopers Surf Australia general manager Andrew Lindsay has snared Billabong professionals Mark Occhilupo, Joel Parkinson, Shaun Cansdell and Brendan Margison for a personal appearance at his Park Beach Plaza store on Thursday from 5pm.
Members of the Pro Junior team will join the champions to 'guest' on a new CHY FM radio show with co-hosts Fergo and Big Brother's Jess.
"I'm confident Andy Irons and Taj Burrow will join the crew at some stage of the visit," Lindsay said.
"The boys are in the area making a movie and have promised to come to the Plaza as soon as shooting is complete."
The personal appearance will last at least an hour with autograph-signings and prize giveaways.