“This was one of the best things I have experienced in my life!”
Surfing NSW is raising the bar with junior development. 10 Junior Team NSW athletes between 14 and 18 years old, were lucky enough to be a part of the first ever Surfing NSW international junior development comp camp in Krui, South Sumatra.
The aim of the 10-day trip was for the surfers to experience international travel and cultures, develop their surfing at world-class, high-performance waves and experience team camaraderie of professional touring surfers at the Qualifying Series (QS) Krui Pro 5000 event.
Throughout the camp period conditions ranged from eight-foot reef breaks to fun four-foot beach breaks. The juniors were up for every challenge the ocean and the coaches threw at them.
“It was an incredible experience, even as a coach. Watching the surfers get after it with passion, dedication and drive to be better at surfing,” said Matty Cattle.
During the trip, four junior athletes, Winter Vincent, Dane Henry, Taj Air and Ben Zanatta competed in the main draw of the QS 5000 event. All gave the opening rounds a solid go and gained valuable experience competing against older and more experienced surfers while being supported by their Team NSW crew.
Winter Vincent, 18, had a very successful QS debut.
He started his campaign strong dominating the three rounds of competition. His high level of surfing and competition intelligence helped him read the lineup and take advantage of the big open faced waves. He scored an excellent range 8.17 in the first round and a 7.67 in the round of 64.
In the round of 32 he was eliminated but was grateful for the opportunity to surf four rounds of elite competition with a big team supporting him from the beach.
Matty Cattle described Winter Vincent’s preparation and approach to his first ever QS event as very professional.
“I didn’t know what to expect going all the way to Krui, but after the long hours of travel it was all worth it,” Vincent from Queenscliff said.
“We had a great crew to travel with and having Matt Cattle and Nathan Webster there made for an overall super fun trip.
“I learnt a lot with this competition too, it was my first QS and it was a great experience. I also learnt a lot by traveling the distance to Krui. The travel definitely tested me, especially after the six hour car ride. The QS challenged me mentally because the spotlights are on, and you have to perform but I also loved that feeling,” he said.
A memorable moment of the trip for Taj Air was the opportunity to board caddy for New Zealand Olympic qualifier Billy Stairmand and Benny Zanatta then got the chance to step up and caddy for North Narrabeen’s Jordy Lawler.
The young surfers were stoked to be invited to sit out in the channel during heats with a back-up board for the competitors.
When the surfers wern’t cheering from the beach during competition days, they were exploring new waves themselves, pushing themselves and each other and as a result getting some waves of a lifetime.
“One of our top sessions was the boys getting maxing waves at Ujung Bocur with former World Championship Tour surfer and coach Nathan Webster guiding them around the reef,” said coach Matty Cattle.
Seeing the surfers getting more comfortable with tube riding over reef every session was awesome to watch. The girls launching into huge aerials at Mandiri beachies was very impressive too,” Cattle said.
A super-star junior in the making, Ava Arghyros,15, from Kingscliff Boardriders, described this trip as “one of the best things I have experienced in my life!”
Ava saw huge progression in her surfing and confidence that she attributes to the coaches on the trip. She shared that having Matty Cattle along was a blessing.
“He gave me so much advice throughout the trip and things that I can focus on in the surf at home as well.”
Surfing NSW performance pathways and competitions coordinator, Ryan Haworth explained that he was proud of how the trip went and was in awe of the young surfers and the work they put into learning and challenging themselves.
“This was such a unique and exciting experience for everyone,” Haworth said.
“Krui being such an isolated place, gave the team a really raw and real experience. They soaked up every single second of surfing they could and it was awesome to see how passionate they are at what they do which is a great base for their future in the sport.”
The Surfing NSW Junior High Performance program in memory of John ‘Shmoo’ Shimooka, runs each year to provide a pathway and resources to help talented surfers reach their full potential.
Qualification for the Junior High Performance Program is as per the Surfing Australia rulebook:
- U18 & U16 Boys: 1st – 8th from the State Titles.
- U18 & U16 Girls : 1st – 6th from State Titles.
- U14 Boys: 1st – 7th from the State Titles, Wild Card/Injury allocation for 8th as per the Surfing NSW Wild Card selection process.
- U14 Girls: 1st – 5th from State Titles, Wild Card/Injury allocation for 6th as per the Surfing NSW Wild Card selection process.
- U12’s Boys & Girls: U12’s athlete’s will be ‘considered’ for selection based on ability, State Ranking and State Titles result.
Winter Vincent – Queenscliff Boardriders
Dane Henry – Kingscliff Boardriders
Taj Turner – Bay Area Boardriders
Ava Arghyros – Kingscliff Boardriders
Grace Gosby – Cronulla Sharks Boardriders
Kyla Renes – Frenchman’s Boardriders
Alice Hodgson – Jones Beach Boardriders
Taj Air – Sandon Point Boardriders
Murray Bamberry – Long Reef Boardriders
Ben Zanatta – North Steyne Boardriders