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Juniors run through Day 8 of Noosa Festival of Surfing

Rachel Tilly © Noosa Festival of Surfing




Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing

Noosa Heads, Queensland Australia
5 - 12 March 2016

Sunshine Coast Airport Girls’ & NoosaSurfing Girls events fire

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 March, 2016 - A building southerly swell had yet to reach Noosa’s famed First Point when competition started bright and early at 6:30am today. Surfers were greeted with the largest waves seen yet this year, punchy, three-foot waves a welcome guest at the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing. It was a day of juniors, with both girls’ and boys’ divisions of the Under 15 and Under 18 ages playing out across the day.

The junior boys jumped straight in, commencing the day with the Pacific Longboarder Magazine Under 18 Boys and the Surf Lifesaving Sunscreen Under 15 Boys. Double heats were again run to make up time lost over the week, and the caliber of surfing on both banks was staggering. Numerous entrants in the junior divisions, both guys and girls, are surfing several divisions, including the pro events, so these heats were of the highest standards.

American Hudson Ritchie joined an all-Australian contingent in first place getters, including Keyo Rhodes, Nic Brewer and Lachlan Mackay. All heats could have gone to any of the six surfers, but the changeable conditions made competition very challenging.

Kai Annetts was a stand-out in the Under 15, as was fellow MS Surfboards team mate, Cale Coulter, but Gus O’Malley took man of the round, patiently waiting for a brace of waves that awarded him a victory score in the high teens.

The girls were no less impressive, the Sunshine Coast Airport Girls’ Under 15 and Girls’ Under 18 taking to the water on the boys’ conclusion.

Kelis Kaleopa’a was superb in the second heat of the Under 15s, surfing confidently and maturely, with careful wave selection and poised control through long and sectioning beach breaks.

At only ten years old, little Lilliana Bowrey surfed well beyond her years and diminutive height. She exited the water and spoke to the commentators in tears, thinking she had blown her chances, but was soon all smiles as her second place was announced. The festival’s youngest competitor, 9-year-old Hawaiian Scarlett Schremmer, also had a solid heat, gaining a third place to advance.

The girls’ Under 18s, like their male counterparts, were simply too close to call, every surfer deserving of the win. But chance, skill and patience all played a part, and world champion, Rachael Tilly, didn’t hold back, taking a convincing win and joining Soliel Errico, Honolua Blomfield and lone Australian winner, Josie Prendergast in the first places.

Back to the premiere location, the repechage junior heats took to the water at picturesque First Point. Small but perfectly formed, the waves offered an immaculate canvas for all surfers and a display of world-class surfing was beheld by a large and appreciative crowd.

Tilly again surfed to the standard to be expected of the youngest ever world champion, but it was Honolua Blomfield and Soleil Errico who landed the big scores, both achieving scores in the very high teens, all three moving directly into tomorrow’s final.

A competent third place in the repechage round two took Lilliana Bowrey impressively into the final, the standard of these young ladies jaw-dropping to all spectators and judges alike.

Reilly Stone tustled for first place with Kaimana Takayama and Jye Whyatt, but a late drive gave him the gold and a place in the final.

Heat of the day went definitively to Cale Coulter. Mentored by another festival regular in MS Surfboards’ Mitch Surman, the young Coulter waited as all other surfers took average waves around him and leaving him with nothing.

But as the heat entered its second half, Coulter turned and took his first wave, riding it immaculately, smooth, connected turns married with noserides and heel hanging. The judges awarded a 9.25, but better was yet to come. Leaving just three minutes on the clock to take his second wave of the heat, Coulter illuminated First Point with textbook surfing, faultless technique and solid maneouvres awarding hi the festival’s first perfect, 10-point ride.

With time left on the clock, he paddled to the beach. But rather than run off and start celebrating, he waited patiently as the clock ticked down and his fellow competitors came to the sand. In a superb example of sportsmanship and gentlemanliness, he greeted each surfer back to the beach with a handshake and thanks – a true poster boy for the camaraderie and stoke so advocated by the Noosa Festival.

Local shaper, Tony Dragan, very generously donated a surfboard with a hand-painted mural of Noosa’s points on the bottom for an auction to help the people of Fiji, who are suffering in the aftermath of devastating cyclones, and adding to a few thousand dollars donated to a very worthy cause.

Pete Cullen returned to the stage later in the evening, the Saltwater Cowboy entertaining the crowd with his energetic rockabilly sounds, and English band, Z-Star Delta wrapped up the night, the festival the inaugural stop on their ‘Dark Days Down Under’ Australian tour.

Finals Day Eight begins at 6:30 tomorrow morning with an updated schedule and a smorgasbord of action.

Tommy Leitch

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