GROMS MASTER MARGARET RIVER SWELLS AT WOOLWORTHS WA JUNIOR SURFING TITLES
Margaret River's large and powerful surf has challenged some of WA’s best young surfers and provided a thrilling conclusion to the first event of the Woolworths WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart. Surfers Point played host to close to 100 boys and girls, with the iconic location bringing out the best from WA's new generation of surfing superstars.
After a sensational opening day of competition, day two saw contrasting conditions as a building 6-8 feet swell and moderate onshore winds greeted the event finalists.
"The weekend has provided these groms with an invaluable experience to compete at a world class location," said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. "It's been a great opportunity for them to surf the same patch of reef as the world's best surfers will at the World Surf League (WSL) Margaret River Pro."
The natural amphitheatre at Surfers Point saw a strong crowd of supporters and spectators build prior to the finals action commencing. Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) was the weekend’s standout surfer and a popular winner in the blue ribbon Under-18 Junior Boys division. Gradisen’s high-speed and powerful rail-to-rail surfing impressed the judges and spectators alike.
Gradisen kept in rhythm during the 25-minute final, bettering scores until the siren sounded. Gradisen amassed a combined total of 16.86 (from a possible 20) which included a near perfect 9.33 and 7.53.
Despite the best efforts of his opponents Gradisen was just too strong, leaving Danny Benedetti (Margaret River), Finn Cox (Margaret River) in third and Jahnu Packer (Gracetown) in fourth.
"I love surfing fast and there were some big sections out there," said Gradisen. "It’s always great to surf a final with some of your good mates and get keeper result in the opening event of the series."
Maddie Cawood (Margaret River) showed great focus and determination to clinch victory in the Under-18 Junior Girls division. Despite only catching two waves during the final Cawood made them count, posting an imposing total of 14.50 (from a possible 20) which included a 7.67 and 6.83.
Cawood credited her performance to her time spend in the water at Surfers Point recently and her commitment to training and her overall surf fitness.
“You don’t want to be running out of energy in the water on a day like this," said Cawood. “I’m so so happy to have won and I’d like to thank my family for all their support.”
Jack Mickle (Trigg) surfed with a maturity beyond his years to win a hotly contested Under-16 Cadet Boys division. Mickle defied the odds, taking down a trio of inform south-west local including Danny Benedetti (Margaret River), Solomon Pogue-Englert (Gracetown) and Dylan Vernon (Yallingup).
Muscling his way through every major manoeuvre, Mickle posted a two-wave total of 13.74 (from a possible 20).
"My body is so sore," said Mickle. “Sore but totally worth it, that is my biggest win ever and to do it in solid surf makes the win even better.”
Not to be out done by the boys, the Under-16 Cadet Girl's divisions also provided its share of highlights. Parading the depth of amazing female talent coming through ranks now in WA, Zali Hewson (Margaret River), Willow Hardy (Margaret River), Skyla Tothill (Sorrento) and Emma Cattlin (Margaret River) went head-to-head.
It was Hewson who was able to execute the best turns on the bigger set waves to capture victory.
"It’s been such a great event, the waves yesterday were amazing and although it was tough work it’s amazing to get to surf Main Break with just us," said Hewson.
Macklin Flynn (Cowaramup) won the Under-14 Grommet Boys division, surfing a smart heat and tackling some big sections on his backhand posting a combined total of 12.83 (from a possible 20), edging out a determined and hungry group of young surfers including; Otis North (Yallingup) in second, Jesse Siedmiogrodzki (City Beach) in third, and Maverick Wilson (Wannanup) in fourth.
“I couldn’t hear anything out there so I just kept hunting the lefts and dodging the sets,” said Flynn. “Everyone in the final has been ripping so I didn’t know how I’d done until I hit the stairs.”
In other results from the weekend, Willow Hardy (Margaret River) took out the Under 14 Grommet Girls division and Remy North (Yallingup) took out the win in the Under-12 Micro-Groms final.
Dylan Vernon was awarded the Volte Wetsuits Rising Star for his impressive performance in the Under-16 Boys division. While Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) claimed the Air Asia Wave of the Day for his 9.33 (from a possible 10) during the Under-18 Junior Boys final.
Forming a key part of the WA surfing development pathway, the Woolworths WA Junior Surfing Titles will see the state’s best young surfers seek qualification to the Australian Junior Surfing Titles which will take place here in Western Australia later this year.
After a memorable start, all attention now turns to the second event of the series which will head north to the Mandurah in April, where the journey towards crowing the 2019 WA Junior Surfing Champions will continue.
Woolworths are committed to encouraging healthy eating habits amongst Aussie kids and gave away over 25 million pieces of free fruit last year as part of their free fruit for kids program.
For more information on this or any other WA event be sure to log onto www.surfingwa.com.au and check out all the Surfing WA social media platforms for event updates and information.
WOOLWORTHS WA JUNIOR SURFING TITLES RND 1 MARGARET RIVER:
UNDER 18 JUNIOR BOYS:
1st Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) – 16.86
2nd Danny Benedetti (Margaret River) – 14.10
3rd Finn Cox (Margaret River) -12.30
4th Jahnu Packer (Gracetown) – 8.53
UNDER 18 JUNIOR GIRLS:
1st Maddie Cawood (Margaret River) – 14.50
2nd Arabelle Gibson (Margaret River) – 10.00
3rd Emma Cattlin (Yallingup) – 6.94
4th Skyla Tothill (Sorrento) – 6.50
UNDER 16 CADET BOYS:
1st Jack Mickle (Trigg) – 13.74
2nd Danny Benedetti (Margaret River) – 12.00
3rd Solomon Pogue-Englert (Gracetown) – 11.50
4th Dylan Vernon (Yallingup) – 0.77
UNDER 16 CADET GIRLS:
1st Zali Hewson (Margaret River) – 10.84
2nd Willow Hardy (Margaret River) – 7.67
3rd Skyla Tothill (Sorrento) – 6.33
4th Lilli Cox (Margaret River) – 3.16
UNDER 14 GROM BOYS:
1st Macklin Flynn (Cowaramup) - 12.83
2nd Otis North (Yallingup) - 9.97
3rd Jess Siedmiogrodzki (City Beach) - 7.76
4th Maverick Wilson (Wannanup) - 6.57
UNDER 14 GROM GIRLS:
1st Willow Hardy (Margaret River) – 14.44
2nd Ruby Berry (Augusta) – 11.60
3rd Kaleisha Launders (Margaret River) – 11.50
4th Lyla Macpherson (Wembley Downs) – 0.00
UNDER 12 MICRO GROM:
1st Remy North (Yallingup) – 14.67
2nd Maverick Wilson (Wannanup) – 14.17
3rd Okie Fraser (Margaret River) – 10.63
4th Aston Grime (Secret Harbour) – 4.23
5th Rhys Bulloch (Secret Harbour) – 3.90
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