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Western Australia decides state's best juniors

Be the Influence WA Junior Titles, Trigg Beach, Perth, Surfing Western Australia, Western Australia
Trigg Beach © Woolacott/Surfing WA



Be the Influence WA Junior Titles
Presented by SunSmart

Surfing Western Australia
Trigg Beach, Australia
7 - 8 June, 2014

Trigg Beach served up some excellent waves over the weekend

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 9 June, 2014 - Trigg Beach, Perth - Over 100 of Western Australia's best junior surfers impressed in tricky, but highly contestable waves at Trigg Beach over the weekend at the Be The Influence WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart.

Long regarded as the breeding ground for the state's future champions, the second event of the WA Junior Surfing Titles saw a star-studded field battle through a marathon event with a total of 56 heats surfed, and close to 1,200 wave ridden over two days. 

Electrifying performances from Yallingup's Kael Walsh, Mandurah's April McPherson and Gracetown duo Bailee Hastie and Ben Gradisen saw them secure the first four prestigious State Championship Titles for 2014.

Competitors travelled from as far North as Exmouth and as far South as Albany for the chance to impress their peers and judges alike, but it was South-West competitors that dominated the conditions winning six of the seven divisions.

The allure of representing WA on home soil in Yallingup during the Australian Junior Titles in December was evident with all surfers rising to the occasion.

"WA last hosted the National Titles back in 2008 and remember current ASP World Title contender Tyler Wright winning the U/16 Girls division," said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. "Nationals is the pinnacle of our sport for the junior age group and you could see the kids who wanted to be there this weekend through their performances."

The ability of surfers to adapt to the changing conditions proved pivotal with excellent scores rewarded to those who didn't hold back. The blue ribbon U/18 Junior Men's final was a great example of this as a seesawing battle ensued between the four form surfers of the event.

Shaun Manners (Margaret River) snuck under the radar for much of the event, but found several diamonds in the rough during the final to take down three very inform surfers to claim his maiden win in the U/18 division. The natural-footer smashed the peaky reforming rights and left to notch up a highly respectable heat total of 14.80 (out of a possible 20 points), which included an 8.15 and a 6.65.

"Thanks to all the boys that was a really great final," said Manners. "I haven't won in the 18's before so I'm pretty stoked with how the weekend has gone for me."

Despite holding the highest individual wave score of 8.50 (from a possible 10) and leading for a majority of the final, Margaret River's Jacob Willcox was forced to settle for third position when a buzzer beating arieal reverse from Yallingup's Kael Walsh moved him into second, with Jack Thomas (Yallingup) surfing well in fourth.

Bailee Hastie successfully claimed the U/18 Girls State Title with back-to-back wins in Margaret River and Trigg. The Gracetown goofy-footer locked in a 11.03 heat total for a combination of powerful and free-flowing forehand cutbacks. Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) and Denver Young (Cottesloe) were hindered by interference calls and finished in second and third respectively with Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) in fourth place.

"I'm so excited to be competing in WA for the National Titles," said Hastie. "The pressure is off me now so I can just spend the rest of the year preparing for December."

Yallingup's Kael Walsh scored the events only perfect 10 point ride and used powerful carves and his innovative repertoire to claim the U/16 Cadet Boys  final and 2014 State Title. Walsh managed to negotiate the lineup with relative ease during the final and as a result was awarded a 14.55 heat total.

"The waves have been good for a comp in Perth and I've had heaps of fun," said Walsh. "I'm so excited to surf against the countries best on my home breaks in December for the Nationals."

Despite moments of brilliance Kash Cook (Sorrento) had to settle for second place with a heat total of 12.50, with Yallingup duo Duke Nagtzaam and Jack Thomas finishing in third and fourth place respectively.

In the closest result of the weekend Annabelle Jones (Margaret River) did just enough to take out the U/16 Cadet Girls division. Just 0.45 separated first through to fourth when the final siren sounded, handing Jones a confidence building win.

"I'm speechless right now I can't believe it," said Jones. "I'd like to thank the other girls in the final it was pretty tough work for us all and I guess the result reflects that."

Marnie Durant (Carnarvon) finished in second just 0.05 behind Jones in second, with Mia McCarthy in third 0.20 behind Durant and Phoebe McGregor in fourth.

Ben Gradisen blew away his competition in the U/14 Grommet Boys division successfully bagging himself a maiden U/14 State Title with a 12.35 heat total. The talented goofy footer linked together a series of technical and stylish turns to post two scores that moved him from fourth to first in a matter of minutes. 

"I'm so excited to compete against the best surfers my age from around the country now," said Gradisen. "I've never been competed at Nationals before but I can't wait."

Gradisen out muscled a rapidly improving Seth Van Haeften (Margaret River) in second, Max Leaver (Yallingup) in third and Finn Cox (Margaret River) in fourth.

In other results from the weekend, April McPherson claimed consecutive U/14 Grommet Girls State Championships after scoring an impressive 16.75 combined total (from a possible 20) in the final which included a 9.00 and 7.75. While, Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) scored a heat high 8.25 to win the U/12 Micro Groms division.

“We’ve got some really impressive talent emerging at an incredible rate here in WA,” said Surfing WA High Performance Coach Mike McAullife  "We never had access to the equipment, assistance, coaching or support the kids do now, so It's good to see them making the most of their opportunities."
All attentions now turn to the third and final event of the WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart which will be held north to Geraldton on the 19th - 20th July.

This event will decide all remaining State Junior Championship Titles and positions into the WA Junior Surfing Team to compete at Yallingup in December for the Australian Junior Surfing Titles.

Be sure to check out for the updated Junior Surfing Titles rating and for any more information on this event or any other surfing event in WA be sure to contact the Surfing WA Office on (08) 9448 0004.

1. Shaun Manners (Margaret River) 14.80pts, 2. Kael Walsh (Yallingup) 14.25pts,
3. Jacob Willcox (Margaret River) 13.25pts, 4. Jack Thomas (Yallingup) 10.10pts.
1. Bailee Hastie (Gracetown) 11.00pts, 2. Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) 6.88pts,
3. Denver Young (Cottesloe) 11.25pts, 4. Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) 2.75pts.
1. Kael Walsh (Yallingup) 14.55pts, 2. Kash Cook (Sorrento) 12.50pts,
3. Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup) 9.90pts, 4. Jack Thomas (Yallingup) 7.90pts. 

1. Annabelle Jones (Margaret River) 9.75pts, 2. Marnie Durant (Carnarvon) 9.70pts,
3. Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) 9.70pts, 4. Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) 9.30pts. 

1. Ben Gradisen (Gracetown) 12.25pts, 2. Seth Van Haeften (Margaret River) 9.20pts,
3. Max Leaver (Yallingup) 7.40pts, 4. Finn Cox (Margaret River) 6.50pts.

1. April McPherson (Mandurah) 16.75pts, 2. India Willcox (Margaret River) 8.95pts, 
3. Jamaica Selby (Margaret River) 6.75, 4. Pemba Spargo (Albany) 5.45pts. 

1. Jed Gradisen (Margaret River) 13.60, 2. Ry Dempsey (Margaret River) 8.70, 
3. Dexter Payenberg (Palmyra) 4.90, 4. Rielley Smith (Wembley Downs).

The Be the Influence WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart is a three event series that travels to Margaret River, Trigg and Geraldton and is proudly supported by Creatures of Leisure, Otis Eyewear, Globe and Futures Fins.

Justin Majeks

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