Jack’s come­back

Golf Coast surfer back in world tour

Tweed Daily News - - SPORT - AN­DREW MCKIN­NON

JACK Free­stone is the sole Gold Coast male fly­ing the flag on the World Surf League Cham­pi­onship Tour since the re­tire­ment of world champs Mick Fan­ning and Joel Parkin­son.

The Tu­gun-based fa­ther of two-year-old Banks, and part­ner of Bank’s mother Alana Blan­chard, is back on the world tour af­ter grab­bing the last spot on the World Qual­i­fy­ing Se­ries.

Free­stone, who won ASP World Ju­nior ti­tles back in 2010 and 2012, qual­i­fied for the men’s cham­pi­onship tour in 2016.

De­spite some good re­sults, his in­con­sis­tency saw the nat­u­ral footer fall off the world tour.

This is not an un­com­mon oc­cur­rence for first-year qual­i­fiers but then to re­qual­ify via the rig­or­ous WQS se­ries is an­other ballgame en­tirely.

The son of the fa­mous rugby league star and a sport­ing mum had the com­pet­i­tive genes nec­es­sary to fight his way back in events that count namely the 10,000 WQS events.

Jack’s first break was in South Africa with a run­ner-up po­si­tion and then a third in Spain giv­ing him a glim­mer of hope but he would have to fin­ish off strongly in the fi­nal two Hawai­ian 10,000 events.

The pres­sure must have been in­tense and the first event at Haleiwa didn’t go his way bow­ing out in the third round in equal 33rd.

So it was down to the fi­nal event at Sun­set Beach, held in pow­er­ful dou­ble to triple head shift­ing peaks that suited Jack in the past.

North Strad­broke Is­land’s Ethan Ewing also fell off the tour and was locked in for a fi­nal fight to qual­ify but fell short when elim­i­nated in the early rounds.

Jack now had a shot to by­pass Ewing for the 10th qual­i­fy­ing spot and, by reach­ing the quar­ter fi­nals, Jack’s come­back was com­plete.

The first of­fi­cial word that Jack had re­qual­i­fied was an­nounced proudly by his Hawai­ian part­ner, Alana, on In­sta­gram, much to the de­light to fans world­wide and es­pe­cially those on the Gold Coast.

Treated like rock stars or roy­alty, they have thou­sands of so­cial me­dia fol­low­ers.

They epit­o­mise the new surf­ing su­per­stars with baby Banks in tow.

Blan­chard, a for­mer world tour com­peti­tor, was granted a wild­card en­try in the women’s fi­nal event at Honolua Bay, cre­at­ing a mas­sive upset by de­feat­ing num­ber two Lakey Peter­son, that paved the way for Stephanie Gil­more’s sev­enth world ti­tle.

At the an­nual Surfer Mag­a­zine poll awards in Hawaii, Alana was voted as best women’s surfer in the world and Jack was voted as the num­ber two male be­hind most Hawaii’s John John Florence.

This year’s WSL’S Snap­per Rocks event, now re­named the Gold Coast Pro, starts later in April when Jack turns 27 – that would be a nice bonus present to win first event of the year.


ON A HIGH: The Gold Coast’s Jack Free­stone has fought his way back onto the WSL World Tour af­ter mak­ing the quar­ter fi­nals of the Vans World Cup at Sun­set Beach in Hawaii. In­set: Jack Free­stone and his son, Banks.

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