Super year for teen surfer
Surfing prodigy Josh Burke had an outstanding year in the water, logging some amazing feats which had never been achieved by a Barbadian.
Starting in January, the 15-year-old St Winifred’s student won the Open men’s and junior divisions in his maiden National Scholastics Championship in New Smyrna, Florida.
The following month, he was invited to the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, which is considered the mecca of the surfing world, to train for the Big Surf with the Billabong Bloodlines Surf camp.
In March, Burke made history by being the first surfer from Barbados to be listed in Surfer magazine among the hot 100 groms (junior surfers) in the world. He was listed at No. 19.
Selected on the Barbados team for the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama in April, he endured a disappointing result but he rebounded by becoming the first Barbadian junior surfer to qualify for the NSSA National Finals at the Huntington Beach Pier since 1978.
Burke also competed in the Quiksilver King Of The Grom event and placed fifth out of 64 top junior surfers from across the Americas in June.
This showing earned him an invitation to the Red Bull Performance Surf Camp in San Clemente where he spent four weeks training in California during July.
In August, he was invited to Nicaragua to join an elite group of the world’s top junior surfers to produce an article for Surfing Magazine’s December edition.
He was awarded a two-page spread in the issue where he was described as a “threat” to the surfing world.
He was later invited to Bali, Indonesia, to train and film a movie with the Billabong Bloodlines camp and received an “A” grade from coach and 1994 ISA men’s world champion Sasha Stocker.
Back in Barbados, Burke finished fifth, the highest place by a Barbadian, in the men’s Independence Pro Soup Bowl at Bathsheba.
He competed at the 50th annual East Coast Surfing Championships at Virginia Beach and created Barbados surfing history by placing second in the men’s Pro Division.
He was also the ECSC Open men’s champion and junior champion, emulating the feat of his father, Alan Burke, who had won the men’s pro division back in 1991.
Because he had to travel every month between January and October, Burke missed a couple of local events, including the national championships and team selection trials.
Throughout the year, he was sponsored by Billabong, Epi-dry, Reef, X-trak, LIME, Nixon, Von Zipper, Futures and Burkie Boards by Rich Price Designs. (EZS)