MAROUBRA | EORA, NSW / AUS (Monday 25 July 2022) – Maroubra beach hosted the 2022 Havaianas NSW Grommet Titles over the last four days. The best Under 14 surfers in the state had a challenge on their hands from start to finish but tackled each heat like they were on the world tour.
Today’s conditions were those that professional athletes dream of. The 4-6 foot swell with offshore wind may have been tricky but it showcased the outstanding level of surfing the Under 14’s are capable of.
“All the surfers were outstanding,” said Sydney coach Matt Cattle.
“There were some absolutely outstanding waves surfed by the groms with huge scores being awarded. They’re 12 and 13 years old and they were surfing at a level that was actually unbelievable. And the difference in skill and strength between the boys and girls has never been closer. It was an awesome day to watch.”
It was Merewether’s Ocean Lancaster and Lucy Darragh from Werri Beach who took out the Under 14’s State Titles today. Both surfers were consistently laying down excellent range scores across the four days.
In the semi final of the Boys Under 14’s Ocean showed his surf maturity, waiting patiently for the set waves that he knew would give him the greatest scoring potential, and he got what he waited for. A 9.23, the highest wave score of the day and the points that would give him the momentum he needed heading into the final.
The Newcastle surfer started the final strong with a 7-point ride and backed it up in style with an 8.5 and sealing his first State Titles with a 7.6.
Not unfamiliar with winning in 2022, the 13-year-old has won the Billabong Oz Grom Cup, Under 12 Rip Curl Grom Search National Finals, Sandbah Cup and the Newcastle Regional Titles.
“I’m frothing. The waves have been on and everyone’s been ripping. This is my first win, I’ve been close a couple of times and it’s been great to be surfing with my mate Ben (Zanatta) especially out here in these conditions,” Ocean said.
Lucy Darragh from the NSW South Coast has had a huge year too, spending time out in the bigger swells as they’ve hit the coast. It was that big wave training that made her comfortable in these conditions. The 12-year-old dominated the Under 14 division to take out her first ever State Titles in style with an untouchable 9.17 (out of 10) in the finals today.
“I think my practice in big waves and love for the big waves helped me a lot today. I was very happy about the size of the waves and being able to compete with that size,” said Darragh.
“I’m really happy with this win. It was pretty hard out there to get the right waves so I’m really excited to take the win here at Maroubra. All the girls in our final were ripping, everyone did such an epic job to be out there.”
Darragh has also won the 2022 Open Women’s division of the Werri Slash and was runner-up of the Rip Curl Grom Search National Finals and Billabong Oz Grom Cup.
Under 14 Boys
- Ocean Lancaster (Merewether) 14.23
- Ben Zanatta (Dee Why) 12.5
- Chex Dempsey (Bateau Bay)
- Lachlan Arghyros (Kingscliff) 1.4
Under 14 Girls
- Lucy Darragh (Werri Beach) 8.76
- Alice Hodgson (Kiama) 4.43
- Halo Banfield (Byron Bay) 3.83
- Annalise Wong (Cromer) 0.83
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 (14th-19th July) and the Grommet Titles for Under 14’s and Under 12’s, held at Maroubra 22th-25th July.
The NSW Grommet 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 Under 14 NSW Grommet Titles will be seeded into the Australian Junior Titles at Stradbroke Island, Queensland in November.
The 2022 Havaianas NSW Grommet Surfing Titles is supported by Surfing NSW, Storage King, Randwick City Council, Mad Mex and Southend Hotel.
Thanks to JGR Images for the photos.