LENNOX HEAD BEACH (Tuesday, 11 July 2023): The 2023 Skullcandy Oz Grom pres. by Vissla has concluded in an exciting fashion with eight new champions crowned across six age divisions, as well as the World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) Pro Junior division.
15-year-old Milla Brown (Bungan, NSW) showed she’d be a name to keep an eye on in future years as she took out the coveted Pro Junior title as well as the Under-18 Girls division. After posting the highest heat total of the event yesterday (19.40 out of a possible 20 points), Brown returned to Lennox Head and proceeded to make light work of the Lennox Head conditions. Milla executed a respectable 10.50 heat total in the Pro Junior division to take a win ahead of perennial event standouts Rosie Smart (Sawtell, NSW), Sierra Kerr (Coolangatta, Qld) and Isla Huppatz (Bilinga, Qld) who finished in second, third and fourth respectively. While, in the Under-18 Girls, Brown finished the heat with a decent 10.43 heat total to claim the win ahead of Isla Huppatz, Zahlia Short (Austinmer, NSW) and Willow Hardy (Margaret River, WA).
“This is the best day of my competitive career so far for sure,” said Brown. “I didn’t even expect to win one division let alone two, especially competing against people like Sierra, who I think is one of the best surfers in the world. I was just stoked to compete against her. Looking forward I’m heading down to the NSW state titles, but hopefully I can win more titles like this and eventually get onto the World Tour. That’s the goal.”
Marlon Harrison (Coolangatta, Qld) showed he was returning from injury stronger than ever, as he put on a last-second hero performance to claim the win in the Pro Junior division. With the final three seconds counting down and Marlon needing a decent score to overtake fellow Gold Coaster Rico Haybittle (Burleigh, Qld), Harrison took off on a windy righthander and executed a series of impressive snaps to post a solid 7.40 wave score and cement his spot on the top of the winner’s dais ahead of Haybittle, Tim Bain (Noosa, Qld) and Oliver Ryssenbeek (Newcastle, NSW).
“I was hearing the countdown as I paddled into that final wave and I knew I had to get moving to make sure I got into it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get it or not, but damn, it feels good to be back,” said Harrison. “After getting injured before the World Juniors earlier this year, it feels good to just hit the refresh switch and keep gunning for that World Junior Title. I won the Under-12 division here at this event and I remember watching Kehu Butler win the Pro Junior and I just knew I wanted to do the same one day. I’m so happy.”
15-year-old Milla Brown (Bungan, NSW) showed she’d be a name to keep an eye on in future years as she took out the coveted Pro Junior title as well as the Under-18 Girls division.
Dane Henry (Fingal Head, NSW) earned one of the biggest victories of his young career taking out the Under-18 Boys. Henry used his light-footed approach to positive effect in the final, to nail a chain of impressive snaps and carves and claim the win with a massive 15.10 two-wave heat total.
Ocean Lancaster (Merewether, NSW) and Ziggy Aloha Mackenzie (Indonesia) made their presence felt in the Under-16s division, with both surfers taking wins in their final heats. Mackenzie was able to notch up an 11.83 two-wave total to take the win, while Lancaster finished with a 14.13 two-wave total.
Eliza Richardson (Sunshine Beach, Qld) and Rio Luther Barr (Sawtell, NSW) both found a series of long-running right-handers to each take wins in the Under-14 division. Luther Barr notched up a solid 15.94 to claim his respective victory, while Richardson finished her final with a 13.60 two-wave total.
All other Pro Junior results can be seen here.
All age division results can be seen here.
The six-day event ran from 6 July –11 July 2023 and comprised of a World Surf League (WSL) sanctioned Pro Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event as well as an elite competition for promising grommets in the 14, 16 and 18 year age divisions.
A five-person judging panel comprised of current WSL Championship Tour and Qualifying Series judges were on-site as well as a live webcast that collectively sets this event above any other junior competition in the world.
Former event competitors include a range of current and former World Championship Tour such as, Molly Picklum, Mikey, Owen and Tyler Wright, Jack Robinson, reigning World Junior Champion Jarvis Earle and local surfers Mikey McDonagh and Nyxie Ryan.
All event divisions were broadcast live worldwide on skullcandyozgromopen.com.au