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Avalon will host O'Neill Gromtag at Sydney's beaches

Davey Cathels : photo Steve Robertson

O'Neill Gromtag

Sydney's Northen Beaches, NSW
13 December 2009

Hostes Avalon out to end North Narrabeen's team surfing dominance

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 December, 2009 : - - The nation’s best junior surfers will converge on Sydney’s Northern Beaches this Sunday for the club based O’Neill Gromtag and all twenty teams in action will have one thing on their mind – stopping the winning run of the mighty North Narrabeen club.

Over the last two years North Narrabeen have dominated the National Surftag series, taking out the 2007 and 2008 Jim Beam Surftag, the last two Australian women’s Surftag titles and last two years of the Gromtag to cement their mantle at the top of club surfing’s tree.

Defeating North Narrabeen will be no easy task with the defending champions heading into battle led by Davey Cathels, considered by many to be the Peninsula’s best junior, but one club with the ammunition to do it might just be the outfit from the host beach, North Avalon.

Avalon were runners up behind their great rival last year and according to team member Billy Bain have their hearts set on going one better this time around, giving themselves two cracks by entering a  brace of teams. “North Narrabeen are pretty dominant in every age group and they have lots of talent but we are going to enter two strong, almost equal teams,” Bain, who has just started year 12 at Barrenjoey High School, said.

“We have lots of young guys and while we don’t want to count our chickens before our eggs hatch I would say we are quietly confident of doing well. “One thing we know is we’ll have lots of support down there cheering us on and if we take it heat by heat you never know how things will work out.”

Part of that support crew will be Bain’s father Rob, the former world number five who was badly injured surfing at their home break in October, fracturing several vertebrae in his neck, lucky to escape with his life. “Dad went to the doctor this week and they said he can’t surf for at least another six months so he’d probably be pretty excited if we won because he’d have something to cheer about,” the younger Bain, 17, said.

“I am sure he’d be really chuffed and happy for us....Dad was good at tag team surfing so I will definitely be asking him for some advice on the day and I’m sure he’ll hand some out too!”

Cathels, who will be the early favourite to claim the Sanyo Powerwave prize of a $600 Sanyo Waterproof Dual Video Camera for the best individual second wave score of the day, believes North Avalon will be hard to hold out but says his team still had plenty up their sleeve.

“Avalon are always good and they have lots of great surfers up there but we have lots of depth and our club likes to win,” Cathels, 18, said.“Even though we will be missing Tyler Hutchinson who is going to Queensland for another junior event and (current Australian under 16 champion) Cooper Chapman, we still have lots of great surfers to choose from.

“We will probably name our team on Friday but I am pretty sure Dave Vlug will be in our team and Laura Enever too. We all like the teams event because it’s with your mates and that’s more rewarding because surfing can be a pretty individual sport...Our club likes to win these events because of the prestige it brings. Everyone around Narrabeen likes to consider our beach as the best around and winning these events helps that.”

North Narrabeen and North Avalon will be challenged by last year’s third placegetter Ulladulla, local powerhouse Queenscliff and Werri Beach, whose club mates won the 2009 Jim Beam Surftag final.

A full list of clubs entered for the event that carries a $3000 purse, with $1200 to the winner,  includes North Narrabeen, North Avalon, Ulladulla, Avoca, Queenscliff, Mona Vale, Norah Head, South Maroubra, Werri Beach, Newport Plus, Dee Why, North Shelley, Southbridge, Freshwater, North Steyne and Curl Curl.

All the action kicks off at 730am and is expected to wind up around 430pm. The 2009 O’Neill Gromtag is proudly supported by FCS, Tracks, Swellnet, Sanyo and Global Surftag.

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David Lyall

Groms - Surfersvillage


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