SANDON POINT | THARAWAL, NSW / AUS (Wednesday 13 July 2022) -The 2022 Woolworths State Junior Surfing Titles presented by Ocean and Earth, in the Illawarra | Tharawal has wrapped up in challenging conditions at Sandon Point ahead of the start of the NSW High Schools State Titles tomorrow (Wednesday 20 July).
Day six was full of surprises with two huge wins for Hunter region surfers in the Under 18 and Under 16 Boys divisions. 4–6-foot swell made for an amazing opportunity for the NSW Junior Title surfers to put on a show, and Surfing NSW Judge Talina Wilson was impressed by the standard they showed.
“There were standouts across all divisions and they were charging, it was epic to watch. There were a number of really impressive waves,” she said.
“The top-range excellent scores were based on fast vertical top turns combined with critical manoeuvres starting from the point and finishing at the boat ramp, that’s about a 250-metre ride.”
Dom Thomas (Newcastle) charged ahead in the Under 18 semi-final, eliminating world junior athlete Eden Hasson (Port Stephens) and Xavier Bryce (Northern Beaches), before a near-perfect 9.9 opening wave in the final gave him the early advantage.
The finalists worked hard in the lineup to find waves of opportunity but Thomas’s backup wave of 5.45 kept him well ahead of the field, including Harley Walters (Angourie), Harry O’Brien (Lennox Head) and Hughie Vaughan (Central Coast) who had excellent scores throughout each round but didn’t have the waves in his favour for the final.
In the Under 16 Boys it was fellow Hunter athlete Felix Byrnes (Merewether), son of shaper Joe Byrnes, who has returned home from a trip to Indonesia with renewed energy and confidence in the water. The 14-year-old had a tough semi final heat against an in-form field including Cronulla’s Kash Brown who won the semi with a 9.5 wave.
The pair met Sol Gruendling (Northern Beaches) and Ryan Conti (South Coast) in the finals after defeating local favourite Sammy Lowe. Byrnes and Gruendling went wave-for-wave in the final, but it was the former who found a pair of 7’s to seal his first State Title.
In the Under 18 Girls, Lucy Brown (Northern Beaches) kickstarted the final with an opening wave of 7.1 coming off the back of an incredible week where waves as well as high scores seemed to fall her way. Unfortunately she couldn’t find a backup, and it was Oceanna Rogers (South Coast) who took it out ahead of Brown, Imojen Enfield (Port Macquarie) and Holly Wishart (South Coast) with a spectacular 9.5 wave.
“Oceanna’s wave was huge, a set wave from the back of the point, three major manoeuvres from the outside right through to the boat ramp where the judges couldn’t even see her anymore. She was a standout all event,” said Wilson.
Milla Brown (Northern Beaches), who also had an amazing run of waves and scores this week, was crowned the Under 16’s Champion with three great scores in a tough final against local favourite Shyla Short (Illawarra). Short started strong and held the lead for majority of the heat but was unlucky not to find a third wave to better her five-point-score.
Brown edged ahead in the last five seconds of the final to cause a local upset.
Finals day top scores included:
- Dom Thomas (Newcastle) – 9.5 final
- Oceanna Rogers (South Coast) – 9.67 semi final, 9.5 final
- Eden Hasson (Port Stephens) – 9.17 quarter finals
- Kash Brown (Northern Beaches) – 9.5 semi final
- Harley Walters (Angourie) – 9.17 (17 highest heat total of day) semi final
Due to the demand for junior surfing in NSW, the State Titles are split into two events; the Junior Titles for Under 18’s and Under 16’s and the Grommet Titles for Under 14’s and Under 12’s, held at Maroubra 22th-25th July.
The State Junior Surfing Titles is a junior sport pathway event. Entries and seeding of the event is drawn from the NSW Regional Titles held within the 11 regional areas as well as the rankings from the Occy Grom Comp and Billabong Oz Grom Cup earlier in the year.
The winners of the State Junior Titles will be seeded into the Australian Junior Titles at Stradbroke Island, Queensland in November.
The 2022 Woolworths State Junior Surfing Titles is supported by Woolworths, Surfing NSW, Ocean and Earth, Wollongong City Council and Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort.