TWO-time world junior champion Jack Freestone has thrived in clean 1.2m waves at Maroochydore to capture the inaugural Hinano-Sunco Jeep Pro-Am.
Big things are expected of the Coolangatta 21-year-old every time he competes and he did not disappoint yesterday, comfortably seeing off Sunshine Coast product Blake Wilson in the final.
Freestone had a two-wave total of 15.60 (out of a possible 20) while Wilson scored 9.67.
Wilson was unable to repeat his semi-final form in the finale of the $5400 event.
In the semis, he scored 14.84 in beating another Sunshine Coast export, Nathan Hedge (12.50).
Freestone advanced to the final after beating North Shore Boardriders member Joe Schwarz 16.3 to 7.83.
First prize was $2000, a pittance of Freestone's big-money sponsorship deal with Billabong.
"Unfortunately for Blake, he had the final in the semi-final," said Robbie Sherwell, the event organiser and a former elite tour member.
"Jack Freestone in the end showed a little bit too much class, and the fact is he's a star of the future."
Sherwell was delighted to see Wilson perform so well.
He said it was a tragedy that a competitor of Wilson's class was forced to abandon his dream of making the World Championship Tour because of a lack of support.
He hopes to stage more events like the Hinano-Sunco Jeep Pro-Am to give surfers like Wilson more opportunity.
"He was on the WQS (World Qualifying Series) a year-and-a-half to two years ago and he found there was not enough support and not enough income, so he decided to get a real job," Sherwell said.
"Talent wise, he surfs as good as some of the best surfers on the WQS circuit. He just needs support."
Sherwell said the event would be staged again next year.
"It has just been an absolute success. We're extremely happy," he said.
"The sponsors are looking at the possibly of running more events this year and we're really looking at next year being bigger and better."
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