• Gold Coast to Host World Junior Surfing Championships in 2012

The iconic point break of Burleigh Heads on Australia's Gold Coast will play host to the final of the 2011 World Junior Championship of surfing in a move that represents a homecoming for the event sponsor, Billabong.

The Billabong World Junior Championships Gold Coast, Australia, will be held at Burleigh Heads from 21-29 January 2012. It is the third and final event on the 2011 ASP World Junior Championship tour.

The event brings together the world's top 48 junior surfers (aged 15 to 20) from countries including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Japan, Tahiti, South Africa, France and Portugal.

It is the first time the event has been held on the Gold Coast and, being just three weeks prior to the commencement of the 2012 ASP World Tour at nearby Snapper Rocks, means the world's best professional surfers and future stars will gather in the same city for a showpiece month of surfing.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said hosting the event in Queensland was a real coup for the State.

"The Billabong World Junior Championships is the only event of its kind in Australia, and what better place to host the event for the first time in Queensland, than sunny Gold Coast," said Ms Bligh.

"Events like this attract visitors from interstate and overseas - which is great for the Queensland tourism industry, local businesses and jobs.

"Attracting world class major events is part of our plan to continue building Queensland's bright future.

"That is why the Queensland Government, through Events Queensland, is investing in events like this one as part of our record $174 million investment in events over four years.

"We look forward to welcoming the top international junior surfers to the Gold Coast in 2012."

"Billabong has not had the opportunity to bring a major event to the Gold Coast since 2000 so this is something of a homecoming," said Billabong's Brand Manager, Andrew Flitton.

"The last event we staged here was a Billabong Pro world tour surfing event down at Kirra so what better way than to return with an event that showcases the future stars of surfing.

"Burleigh is one of the world's best sand-bottom points, which is great for high performance surfing, and it is also an amazing place for spectators to get close to the action."

Defending World Junior Champion Jack Freestone, who resides just a few beaches south of Burleigh, said the luring of the event to the Gold Coast is a significant moment for junior surfing.

"To finally have a world junior event on the Gold Coast is amazing, let alone having it at Burleigh which is one of the most high performance waves in the world," said Jack.

"The backdrop for the event is sick. When you're out in the water there are people standing on the rocks and they're hooting and hollering and being the Australia Day weekend there will also be a lot of Australian pride going down."

The event is being brought to the Gold Coast with the support of the Queensland Government through Events Queensland, Monster Energy, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Volkswagen, Von Zipper, the Association of Surfing Professionals and Burleigh Boardriders.

"It is a great outcome for surfing and we are thankful for the support of each of the event partners in allowing us to bring the event to the Gold Coast," said Flitton.