Freestone off to flying start
COOLANGATTA'S Jack Freestone, 19, the reigning Association of Surf Professionals World Junior Champion, set a high-flying pace at the Reef Hawaiian Pro yesterday.
The event finally got under way in head-high surf after nine days of waiting and Freestone wasted no time in posting the day's highest score - 15.66 out of 20.
The Reef Hawaiian Pro is the first stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, at Haleiwa on Oahu's North Shore.
Freestone opted to sit on the fickle break known as Peaks, an inconsistent but high-performance right-hander to the north of the main Haleiwa break.
With heats reduced from 30 minutes to 20 to ensure the event can finish by today, the final day of the waiting period, Freestone gambled on separating himself from the four-man pack.
It paid off.
The young Australian found several long rights that allowed him to take flight with some of the best aerials of the day.
His top two wave scores were 8.83 and 6.83.
"I sat on the little rights at Peaks and it sort of went my way. No one came over to hassle me," Freestone said.
"I've been doing a little bit of training with (six-time Vans Triple Crown champion) Sunny Garcia and he's sort of giving me the insight to all the places, so big thanks to him. It's been amazing.
"Every event there's going to be aerials. It's more exciting, it's progressive and I guess that's what the judges want to see."
With the Hawaiian Air Show award offering 250,000 Hawaiian Miles to the best aerial of the Vans Triple Crown, airs were at the top of every surfer's list.