Jackson Baker wins Occy's Grom Comp
International surfers from South Africa, USA, New Zealand, Tahiti and Japan all competed in the event, which is considered a major stepping stone for juniors hoping to forge a career in professional surfing.
The 15-year-old produced rides of 9.83 and 7.40 to defeat Yamba’s Jeames Young (14.50) in the final of the five-day tournament at Duranbah Beach.
‘‘It’s a really big comp, one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere,’’ Baker said of the under-16 event.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to win it. To come through in my first year in the 16s and win is a big confidence boost for the rest of the year and going into the grom comp at Lennox Head.’’
There were plenty of nervous moments in the final for Baker. He was sitting on a two-wave score of seven with 10 minutes remaining in the half-hour final.
‘‘I was kind of losing my composure and then I just thought to myself there’s still 10 minutes to go and there’s plenty of waves coming through,’’ he said.
‘‘I needed a score and once I had the nine my confidence just went through the roof.’’
Baker produced a big fin turn and close-out floater on a heavy section of wave on the championship-clinching ride.
‘‘I thought all I needed to do was to back that up with a good wave, so I paddled back out and got a seven and the other kid needed a 9.5.’’
Baker has finished third in the under12s and reached the semi-finals of the under14s twice in previous attempts at Occy’s Grom Comp.
The natural-footer’s next mission is another prestigious junior event, the Oz Grom Open at Lennox Head, which starts tomorrow and runs until Tuesday.
QUEENSLAND'S ELI STEELE WINS THE 2011 BILLABONG OCCYS GROM COMP!
Gold Coast Queensland, Wednesday 6th July, 2011: ELI Steele (Caloundra, Qld) today claimed the blue ribbon 16 and Under Boys division at the 2011 Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp at Duranbah Beach (on the New South Wales / Queensland border) in clean 1.5m – 2m waves. Peaking perfectly in the final, Steele was the standout surfer of the day, with his polished goofy-foot (right foot forward stance) attack proving too good for his nearest rivals.
After placing second at this event last year, it was an especially sweet victory for the Sunshine Coast up-and-comer who went on to post an impressive two-wave heat total of 16.50 (out of a possible 20) in the final, trumping Hiroto Arai (Japan – 12.57), Soli Bailey (Byron Bay, NSW – 11.50) and Tommy Boucaut (Byron Bay, NSW – 5.23) who finished second to fourth respectively.
“I am so stoked,” said Steele.
“To win this event is just incredible, I came close last year so to go one better is just great,” he said. Meanwhile, in the Under 16 Girls Division, Stephanie Single (Lennox Head, NSW) came out on top in her division’s action packed final, scoring a combined two-wave heat total of 14.17 (out of a possible 20) to topple Ellie Brooks (Palm Beach, Qld – 9.90), Sophia Bernard (Manly, NSW – 9.80) and Ella Williams (Whangamata, NZ – 5.50).
Single looked in fine form all week and was over the moon to win her victory.
“To win here today is just a dream come true,” saidSingle.
“I knew it would be a hard final, the girls have been ripping all week, so to come out on top feels amazing,” she said.
Leonard Fioranti (Italy) flew the international flag today claiming the 14 and Under Boys title.
After a blistering display of surfing, Fioranti was in a league of his own in the final with a combined heat total of 13.17 (out of a possible 20). Fioranti had his competitors playing catch up as Sunshine Coast surfer Quinn Bruce (Caloundra, Qld) made a late charge in the dying stages of the final, but it was not enough with Bruce finishing the heat with a total of 12.13 points (out of a possible 20), ahead of Japanese surfer Takumi Yasui (11.20) and Sheldon Simkus (Snapper Rocks, Qld -4.96). Also today, Holly-Sue Coffey took out the 14 and Under Girls Division with a blistering forehand attack. The young Crescent Head (NSW) natural-footer toppled Alyssa Lock (Snapper Rocks, Qld – 11.33), Isabella Nichols (Coolum, Qld – 9.23) and Kobie Enright (Snapper Rocks, Qld – 4.60) with a total two wave combined heat score of 11.63 points. Last, but certainly not least, Reef Heazlewood (Caloundra, Qld – 12.17) showed blistering form to take the win in the 12 and Under Boys division with Byron Bay surfer Kyuss King finishing runner-up on a score of 9.00 points (out of a possible 20), ahead of Luke Wrice (Wollongong, NSW – 8.60) and Dexter Muskins (Snapper Rocks, Qld – 6.36).
In a surprise for everyone on the beach today, the legend himself Mark “Occy” Occhilupo along with world tour surfer Joel Parkinson and former world title runner-up Luke Egan took the SONY “biggest” winners from throughout the week out for an all-in SONY Expression Session, which was won by 10-year-old Snapper Rocks (Qld) surfer Alyssa Lock.
The Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp is proudly supported by Billabong, SONY, Kirra Surf, Volkswagen and Surfing Queensland.