NIKKI Van Dijk is the toast of the international surfing fraternity after claiming the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Junior Title in Indonesia on Friday. The Phillip Islander defeated the highly rated Bianca Buitendag from South Africa in an epic final at the famous Keramas River Mouth in Bali. Van Dijk is the third Australian in six years to win the title, joining famous names and current pro tour surfers such as 2007 and 2009 winners Sally Fitzgibbons and Laura Enever. In excellent six foot waves with flawless tubes reeling down the reef at Keramas, Van Dijk held the lead from the start to win with a score of 13.24 to Buitendag’s 8.93. Using her smooth style, Van Dijk glided down the lines and unleashed some crisp and powerful manoeuvres. The 17 year-old surfed strong and smart to become the first Victorian to win an ASP World Junior Title. “I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt,” an elated Van Dijk said. “I was nervous the whole heat, I was shaky when I was trying to stand up. I think I was just so excited to be out there in such perfect waves. “I’m so honoured to win. This is what I dream of, it’s amazing! “To be here with my sister and friends is amazing. I know all my family and friends at home will be so excited.” The win was taking its time to sink in for the new world junior champion, who was still high on adrenaline yesterday. “I’m still really excited and happy with myself to win such a big event here in Bali,” she told the Sentinel-Times “It has started to sink in I think, the amount of people supporting me and congratulating me hit me when I won and that’s when I felt it sunk in. “It is so cool to have your community behind your success.” Van Dijk and sister Nina attended the Oakley Party following the event, but kept celebrations to a minimum. “It was the Bali Bombing 10 year anniversary that day so we kept it pretty low down but I’m sure when I come home I’m going to celebrate with everyone and double it up with my 18th birthday and end of exams,” she said. Friday’s win ends Van Dijk’s competitions for the year with the Qualifying Series back in action in January. Following her historic win, Van Dijk will be heading straight back to school when she gets home later this week. The 2012 ASP World Junior Championships in Bali will go down as an historic event as the first event in Indonesia to crown an ASP World Champion and also because it featured some of the best waves ever for a women’s final. Van Dijk and Buitendag were the standout surfers of the competition; between them the scoring six of the top 10 scoring waves of the championships.
Newhaven College students and staff stopped and watched the final live in support of their classmate on Friday. The college streamed the final over the internet following a full school assembly. “After dismissing the students to go to class, I announced that Nikki was taking to the waves in Bali and invited anyone who wanted to watch to stay behind,” Newhaven College principal, Gea Lovell said. “I was extremely moved to see everyone in the hall return to their seats to watch and support Nikki.” The feeling in the hall was intense and there was a collective gasp when Van Dijk fell off one of her waves. “We all held our breath to hear the score when her opponent caught a great wave,” Ms Lovell said. “We all cheered when Nikki won. “Those 15 minutes saw the coming together of our senior college in a very poignant and moving way, to support one of our own.” Phillip Island Boardriders Club president Zena Archibald said members were elated for their local export. “We are so thrilled for her,” Ms Archibald said. “We are waiting for her to come home and are planning some sort of celebration when she gets back. “It puts us on the map, we have had lots of kids go through the ranks, not just Phillip Island but Victoria and none have been able to achieve what she has been able to. “Being involved, I know how much effort and hard work goes into achieving this and how much of a huge achievement it is for her.”