Super year for young Burke
Barbados’ top Junior surfer Josh Burke had an outstanding 2011, finishing tenth overall out of 254 entries on the USA East Coast Men’s Pro Tour – The Western Atlantic Pro Surf Series (WAPSS).
The 14-year-old reached the finals in eight of the nine international events he competed in across the United States and Caribbean.
The year began rather unexpectedly at the 47th annual Ron/Jon Easter Surf Festival.
Burke was entered in the Junior Amateur divisions, one mile away from the Men’s Pro podium.
However, when it was realized that a slot was available in the Men’s Pro, a decision was made to enter the pint-size St Winifred’s student and the result was an amazing third position, competing against the United States East Coast’s top professional surfers.
In the process, he became the youngest surfer in the event’s history to make the final other than 11-time world champ Kelly Slater, who also won the event at 14 years old.
After this feat Burke’s confidence grew and his next step was the WAPSS Tour.
In May, at the CaribPilsner Pro in Toco, Trinidad, Burke surfed extremely well, placing fifth in the Men’s Pro. He placed second in the Under-21 Pro.
His next event was the Reef Sweetwater Pro in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where he came third in the 14-and-Under category and seventh in the Open while securing a 9.73-point ride, the highest wave score of the event.
Heading back south for the MAKKA Pro in Jamaica where surfing is a relatively new sport, Burke was a hit with the local children.
He rode the MAKKA waves effortlessly, throwing tailslides and his trademark “airs” to the delight of the crowd on his way to third place in the Men’s Pro and second in the Under-21 Pro.
In August at the Rip Curl Gromsearch at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Burke was unstoppable.
He pulled off high-risk manoeuvres to gain third position in the 14-and-Under class. He also won the “Dragon” award for the highest heat score of 17.83 out of a possible 20.
The next day, he copped second place in the 14-and-Under division at the American Athletic Union (AAU) Championships in Cocoa Beach, Florida.
The following weekend, Burke headed up the coast to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, for the Rip Curl Gromsearch.
He continued his fine form, surfing double divisions all the way to the finals, and placed third and fourth in the 14-and-Under and 16-and-Under respectively.
He was also awarded the event’s H20 Best Manoeuvre Award for a high-flying alley oop (aerial 360), a manoeuvre rarely pulled off in a surf contest.
In September, the Billabong, X-Trak, Nixon, Vonzipper and Burkie Board-sponsored surfer took his dominance to the NKF Pro in Cocoa Beach.
He surfed his way to second place in the Under-21 Junior Pro, then returned home in top form to win the Barbados Under-16 and Under-21 National Championships at the Soup Bowl for the second consecutive year, along with placing second in the Open.
Burke’s 2012 begins with the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) event in mid-January. (PR/EZS)