The West

Surf�s young gun puts school before tour

He has the world at his feet, but Jacob Willcox has unfinished business before he goes out and takes it on.

The Margaret River teenager, who famously defeated Kelly Slater in Portugal last year, says he wants to finish his final year of school before joining surfing's world tour.

The 17-year-old, who will compete at the ASP World Junior Championships this month, said he planned to "map out" his future once he finished school in Margaret River this year.

"A lot of guys drop out when they start doing competitions and stuff but I really wanted to finish Year 12," he said in an interview with the Association of Surfing Professionals this week.

"It makes you more well rounded. You need more discipline if you're at school. There's deadlines and assignments and all that and I think it gets you ready for the real world."

Jacob said his win against 11-time world champion Kelly Slater as a wildcard in Portugal in October had taught him a great deal.

"I've carried that into the junior events and it's helped me to learn what's expected and how to handle those situations. I've also won a few junior comps and had other good results, too," he said.

Jacob won two of the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series events this year to finish second on the overall rankings, and was 0.04 points away from eliminating Australian surfer Josh Kerr as a wildcard in the recent Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.

His goal is to join the world tour, which fellow West Australian Taj Burrow has been on for 18 years, but he is in no hurry.

"I want to be on the tour soon, but not unless I'm ready. I want to be there but I don't want to qualify and get flogged," he said.

"I'll do ASP World Juniors and then the Aussie titles later in the year. I'll finish school, hopefully with good grades … in between I just want to surf some good waves and bring out some good clips."

The West Australian

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