Judges blown away as groms compete and push the limits of junior surfing to extraordinary levels today as the Billabong Oz Grom Cup presented by Coopers Surf moved to Macauley’s Beach, Coffs Harbour.
In 4-6 foot swell with some bigger set waves, Australia’s junior surfers took on the conditions like professionals and were rewarded with huge scores across the day.
The judges, who work on events from junior surfing through to the Olympics, World Surf League and International Surfing Association were continually impressed with the prowess of the Under 18 athletes and today commented on the levels exceeding their expectations at the event.
“This event is massive and the kids are out of their comfort zones but are competing hard and pushing grommet surfing,” said an anonymous Surfing NSW Judge. “The level of the talent here this week is insane and every heat is getting better and better.”
The event that is catering specifically for junior surfers in an effort to support their growth and love of surfing is in its ninth year and has seen some of Australia’s most successful elite athletes take out the event.
Today saw a number of divisions surf through and lock in finals matchups including the hotly contested and highly competitive Under 18’s.
Lennix Smith (Jones Beach) was a standout today as he made his clean sweep through the Quarter and Semi Finals. The Illawarra surfer who last month took out the Tweed Coast Pro Junior looked comfortable in the bigger waves where he was able to find clean and mature maneuvers. With an excellent and near-perfect score in the bank (9.0) Smith is looking to keep his momentum going. He will meet Dane Henry who had his standout day on Saturday as well as Xavier Bryce and Kyan Falvey in the final.
Bodhi Simon (Port Kembla) continued her clever and consistent surfing today in the Under 16’s Round 2 heat of five very competent surfers. Simon’s wave count was just two but the judges were rapt with both carefully selected waves awarding her a 7.33 for her first and a backup score of 5.5 to give her the second highest heat total of the day behind local Qualifying Series surfer Rosie Smart.
Rosie Smart (Sawtell) and her brother Creed continue to dominate up the road from their hometown. The Under 18 division surfer has had a great year competing on the World Surf League Qualifying Series for the first time making herself known by making a number of heats through the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series.
A previous winner of the Billabong Oz Grom Cup, Smart locked in her place in the Semi Final against familiar rivals Holly Wishart, Jada Thomas and Leila Salt after scoring an excellent score of 8.33 and the highest girls heat total of the day.
The younger Smart, Creed, also had a successful day in the Under 16’s moving through to the Finals against Fletcher Kelleher, Zyah Hession and Will Martin (Coffs Harbour) who today was less than one point of a perfect 10 point ride in his Round 3 heat.
Tuesday will see heats continuing for the younger divisions heading towards finals day on Wednesday. The event will also be live webcast via Surfing NSW Facebook and Kayo Sports on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The event will this year reach more people than ever thanks to a partnership between Surfing NSW and Kayo Sports. The Billabong Oz Grom Cup presented by Coopers Surf Australia will be available via webcast live and free on Kayo Freebies and Surfing NSW Facebook.
All event presentations will be hosted at the Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour.
The Billabong Oz Grom Cup pres. by Coopers Surf Australia will commence each day at 7:30 am with the call for the day’s schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6:45 am. The event hotline number is 0458 247 212 which will leave a voice recorded message each morning of the event.
The Billabong Oz Grom Cup pres. by Coopers Surf Australia is proudly supported by Billabong, Coopers Surf Australia, Coffs Harbour Boardriders, Coffs Harbour City Council, Park Beach Plaza, Hoey Moey and Surfing NSW.
Photos by Kurt Polock, Lighthouse Sports Photography – Below: Rosie Smart, Lucy Brown, Dane Henry, Will Martin