WEST OZ GROMS SHINE IN PUMPING CONDITIONS AT THE WOOLWORTHS WA JUNIOR TITLES IN MARGARET RIVER
Western Australia’s top junior surfers relished the opportunity to compete in perfect autumn conditions at Surfers Point in Margaret River, with the opening round of the Woolworths WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart wrapping up today.
After windswept conditions made the going tough yesterday, grommets from all corners of the state shone on finals day with perfectly groomed 3-4 feet waves on offer.
Arguably one of WA’s most iconic and time honoured event locations, Surfers Point’s powerful waves brought out the best from WA's new generation of surfing superstars who rose to the occasion with some standout performances across all seven divisions contested.
"This weekend has provided our junior surfers 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 the kids to surf the same patch of reef as the world's best surfers soon will for the upcoming World Surf League (WSL) Margaret River Pro."
South-West surfers showed their familiarity with the size and power of the waves on offer, winning six out of the seven divisions contested ranging from Under-12 Micro Groms through to Under-18 Juniors.
Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) was a popular winner, dominating the event winning the blue ribbon Under-18 Junior Boys division as well as the Under-16 Cadet Boys division.
Gradisen’s superior wave selection and powerful rail-to-rail surfing impressed the judges and a spectator alike, scoring two excellent eight point plus rides to finish on a combined total of 16.83 (from a possible 20) in the Under-18 Junior Boys final.
Despite the best efforts of his older brother Ben Gradisen (Gracetown), who scored a near perfect 9.50 (from a possible 10) in the final, it was the younger of the two that proved too strong, finishing ahead of his sibling and Margaret River duo Finn Cox and Seth Van Haeften.
“Conditions were super good and it was just one of those classic days out at Margaret’s,” said Gradisen. “It's always good have pumping waves and offshore winds for a comp.”
Emma Cattlin (Yallingup) used her powerful aproach to claim victory in the Under-18 Junior Girls division. Clinical in her approach, Cattlin used priority superbly to score a heat high 9.33 (from a possible 10) on her way to the win.
Cattlin edged out Jamaica Selby (Margaret River), Pemba Spargo (Albany) and Maddie Cawood (Margaret River) in an entertaining final that proves the future of female surfing in WA is in safe hands.
“I feel really good and I still can't believe it,” said Cattlin. “I love competing out there and I think the wave really suits my surfing.”
Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) backed up his performance in the Under-18 Junior Boys with a victory in the Under-16 Cadet Boys. Gradisen surfed with maturity beyond his take his second win of the weekend. Gradisen displayed textbook surfing, going top to bottom at every opportunity possible.
Gradisen scored a combined two-wave total of 16.16 (from a possible 20), leaving George Simpson (Gracetown), Angus Willis (Scarborough) and Danny Benedetti (Margaret River) to battle it out for the minor placing’s.
“It’s so good to get a double win at the opening event of the series,” said Gradisen. “I’m definitely going for the Under-16 State Title this year and getting to National Titles is the goal for everyone here I think.”
Parading the depth of female talent now on offer in WA, Maddie Cawood (Margaret River) took out the Under-16 Cadet Girl's division, scoring a 9.0 (from a possible 10) on her way to victory ahead of Zali Hewson (Margaret River), Taiana Duncan (Kalbarri) and Coral Durant (Carnarvon).
“I’m so stoked to have made two finals and won the 16’s,” said Cawood. “The waves have been so good today and it doesn’t get much better than this for me.”
Brock Launders (Margaret River) was an ecstatic winner of the Under-14 Grommet Boys division, displaying great courage and tackling some of the biggest waves and sections of the weekend.
In the closest result of the weekend, Launders edged out Jake Hagan (Geraldton), Macklin Flynn (Mandurah) and Jack Mickle (Trigg), with 0.07 seperating first through to third place when the siren sounded.
“All the boys have been ripping this weekend and anyone could have won it was that close,” said Launders. “It’s been such a great day of waves that I’ll remember this win for a while to come.”
In other results from the weekend, defending State Champion Zali Hewson (Margaret River) captured an exciting Under-14 Grommet Girls victory. While Maverick Wilson (Mandurah) was unstoppable in the hotly contested Under-12 Micro Groms final.
Forming a key part of the WA surfing development pathway, the opening event of the 2018 Woolworths WA Junior Surfing Titles attracted the states best young surfers who are all seeking qualification to the Australian Junior Surfing Titles, which will take place in South Australia later this year.
“We’ve got some really impressive talent emerging at an incredible rate here in WA,” said Surfing Development Manger Tom Dickson. "We’ve never had access to the equipment, locations, coaching or support the kids do right now, so it's good to see them making the most of their opportunities."
Jed Gradisen was awarded the Board Store Best On Ground for his double victory this weekend. Gradisen earned himself a $250 voucher that can be used at the Board Store in Vasse.
After a memorable start this weekend in Margaret River, attention now turns to the second event of the series which will travel to Mandurah in May, where the journey towards crowing the 2018 WA Junior Surfing Champions will continue.
Future Australian surfing champions will receive further help to ride the wave to success, with Woolworths expanding its commitment to the sport to include Surfing Australia’s six affiliated State branches Woolworths State Junior Surfing Titles, with 18 events to be run nationally across 6 States in 2017/18.
At each event, Woolworths will connect its store teams with the sport and celebrate the next generation of champions in local communities in each state.
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 - Round # 1: Final Results:
Under 12 Micro Groms:
1. Maverick Wilson (Mandurah) - 14.20
2. Charlie Willcox (Margaret River) - 10.83
3. Okie Frazer (Margaret River) - 10.46
4. Ruby Berry (Augusta) - 4.50
Under 14 Grom Girls:
1. Zali Hewson (Margaret River) - 15.83
2. Lilli Cox (Margaret River) - 12.87
3. Willow Hardy (Margaret River) - 8.86
4. Kaleisha Launders (Margaret River) - 2.00
Under 14 Grom Boys:
1. Brock Launders (Margaret River) - 13.57
2. Jake Hagan (Geraldton) - 13.50*
3. Macklin Flynn (Mandurah) - 13.50
4. Jack Mickle (Trigg Beach) - 7.67
* result split by count back to third wave
Under 16 Cadet Girls:
1. Maddie Cawood (Margaret River) - 13.67
2. Zali Hewson (Margaret River) - 12.73
3. Taiana Duncan (Kalbarri) - 13.67
4. Coral Durant (Carnarvon) - 4.90
Under 16 Cadet Boys:
1. Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) - 16.16
2. George Simpson (Gracetown) - 11.10
3. Angus Willis (Scarborough) - 9.86
4. Daniel Benedetti (Margaret River) - 6.73
Under 18 Junior Girls:
1. Emma Cattlin (Yallingup) - 11.50
2. Jamaica Selby (Margaret River) - 9.13
3. Pemba Spargo (Albany) - 7.26
4. Maddie Cawood (Margaret River) - 5.63
Under 18 Junior Boys:
1. Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) - 16.83
2. Ben Gradisen (Gracetown) - 16.57
3. Finn Cox (Margaret River) - 14.90
4. Seth Van Heaften (Margaret River) - 12.10
About Surfing Western Australia:
Since 1964, Surfing WA has been the governing body of surfing covering all boardriding codes including shortboarding, longboarding, bodyboarding and stand up paddle boarding. Surfing WA seeks to encourage, promote, advance and administer the sport of surfing in WA. The organisation is actively involved in all levels of the industry; from developing educational programs and training coaches and judges, to providing pathway initiatives for both young and experienced surfers. www.surfingwa.com.au