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Wilcox tops Western Australia junior titles

Jacob Willcox © SurfingWA/Woolacott




WA Junior Surfing Titles Round #3
Presented by SunSmart

Surfing WA
Geraldton, Australia
19 - 20 July, 2014

Juniors battle it out on the Batavia Coast

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 22 July, 2014 - Trigg Beach - Western Australia's next generation of surfing stars shone over the weekend, battling mixed conditions along Geraldton's Batavia coast at the third and final event of the WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart.

With fifteen positions for the WA Junior Surfing Team in dispute coming into Geraldton, close to one hundred junior surfers from right across the state went all out in hopes of securing themselves a prestigious WA Junior Surfing Championship or a much sought after opportunity to contest National Titles on home soil at Yallingup in December.

After starting in Margaret River in March, last stopping at Trigg Beach in June, a memorable final round of competition was held for this first time ever at Back Beach close to the Geraldton CBD. Competitors made the most of some well groomed winter banks that handled both clean offshore conditions and Sunday's large stormy surf.

"It's the first time we've held a Junior Titles event at Back Beach," said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. "It is not the easiest place to surf, but it turned out to be our best option over both days. I was super impressed with everyone that hit the water, especially on Sunday for the finals."

The WA Junior Surfing Titles are designed specifically for male and female groms aged under 18, and have developed over the years to become a vital stepping stone towards a professional junior surfing career. Margaret River's Jacob Willcox proved this, winning his fourth consecutive WA Junior Surfing Championship in the blue ribbon U/18 Junior Boys division.

Ace Van Peer © Surfing WA/Woolacott


The WA honour roll of past winners over the years in the U/18 division includes; Taj Burrow (Yallingup), Ry Craike (Kalbarri), Luke Campbell (Trigg Beach) and Creed McTaggart (Margaret River), and offers a fairly accurate prediction of future surfing success. 

Willcox put on a one man demolition derby in each of his heats, confirming his status as WA's next big thing by wrapping up the final heat of the weekend with an emphatic display. Willcox used his razor sharp forehand attack and dropped top scores of an 8.50 and 6.85 to amass a combined total of 15.34 (from a possible 20), to claim his second victory of the series.

"It's weird to think this is my final Junior State Title," said Willcox after the final . "I've been doing these events for as long as I can remember and have loved every moment. I'm really looking forward to competing in a home National Titles in WA at the end of the year.

Lachy Ross (Denmark) posted his best result of 2014, finishing in second on a combined total of 13.07 and in turn qualifying for his maiden National Titles in December. Jake Edwards (Cotttesloe) made the most of the larger surf to finish in third place and also qualifying for this years National Titles. Unfortunately a fourth place finish for Pascal Hutchinson (Sorrento) wasn't enough to see him move into the top 4 on the U/18 Junior Boys ratings.

The U/18 Junior Girlls final was a closely fought affair, with just half a point separating Emi Campbell (Denmark) and Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) when the siren sounded. Campbell caught just three waves during the final, and was rewarded with a heat high 7.07 (from a possible 10), handing her the win, with McCarthy left chasing a 4.75 for victory. Gracetown's Bailee Hastie finished in third and clammed the U/18 State Title with wins at Margaret River and Trigg, while Eliza Green (Yallingup) finishing in fourth place.
"I really needed that result to make the State Team," said Campbell. "I had a shocker at Trigg and needed to step up this weekend which I'm happy I did."

Duke Nagtzaam © Surfing WA/Woolacott


The U/16 Cadet Boys was a pleasure to watch with some smooth and progressive surfing being offered up by all four finalists. Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup) was in blistering form all weekend and although the 16's State Title had already been secured by Yallinup's Kael Walsh, the talented goofy-footer shone in his absence. Nagtzaam found the best waves of the heat to seamlessly link smooth and committed turns, scoring a heat high 7.50 (from a possible 10). Chasing a solid result in Geraldton, the win for Nagtzaam moved him into second place on the ratings behind Walsh and into his the WA State Team.

"It's been little while since I last won at a State Title, but better late than never," said Nagtzaam. "I can't wait to surf my home breaks for Nationals at the end of the year."

Yallingup duo Josh Cattlin and Felix Leaver surfed excellently to finish in second and third respectively third with both qualifying for National Titles in December. Alex McGuffin (Bicton) posted his best result at state level finishing in fourth.

In other results from the weekend, Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) saved her best until last posting her best scores on her final two waves to claim the U/16 Cadet Girls State Championship. McCarthy scored a 7.77 and 5.93 to finish just 0.80 ahead of the rapidly improving Emma Cattlin (Yallingup) in second. Marnie Durant (Carnarvon) finished in third ahead of Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup).

Ben Gradisen (Gracetown) posted a clean sweep of the U/14 Grommet Boys division, taking out his third straight event win. Gradisen looks to be a star on the rise posting an 8.50 and 6.67 to finish on a 15.17 combined total (from a possible 20). Gradisen was too strong for Finn Cox (Margaret River) in second, with Seth Van Haeften (Margaret River) third and Lachie Mitchell-D'raine (Duncraig) in fourth.

The result backs up Gradisen's U/12 Micro-Grom State Championship from last year will see him contest his first National Titles in Yallingup. 

"I'm really excited to surf against all the best kids my age down south," said Gradisen.

Jamacia Selby (Margaret River) won the U/14 Grommet Girls division, edging out Albany duo Sascha Roberts and Pema Spargo who finished in second and third with Alice Field (Margaret River) in fourth place. Selby will join State Champion April McPherson (Mandurah) in the U/14 Grommet Girls division at her first National Titles.

Ry Dempsey (Margaret River) claimed the U/12 Micro-Groms State Title with a close fought win over Dexter Payenberg (Palmyra), Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) and Reilley Smith (Wembley Downs).

The 2014 WA Junior Surfing Titles presented by SunSmart has seen an impressive group of junior surfing champions crowned across seven divisions, whilst discovering a new and exciting group of emerging surfers within the state. The WA Junior Surfing Team now boasts representatives from all major surfer regions in WA including surfers from; the Mid-West, Perth-Metro, Peel, South-West, and South-Coast all showcasing the strength of the sport right across WA. 

The attention of the successful surfers will now shift to the upcoming training camps, and high performance sessions scheduled to best prepare the team for the pressures of a National Title campaign. While the upcoming SunSmart School Surfing Titles will provide surfers from all areas of WA, the opportunity to compete with a team mate and gain qualification for National Titles in the School Sports Australia respective divisions.


1. Jacob Willcox (Margaret River) 15.347pts, 2. Lachy Ross (Denmark) 13.07pts, 3. Jake Edwards (Cottesloe) 10.26pts, 4. Pascal Hutchinson (Sorrento) 8.83pts.

State Champion: Jacob Willcox
1. Emi Campbell (Denmark) 10.74pts, 2. Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) 10.24pts, 3. Bailee Hastie (Gracetown) 9.17pts, 4. Eliza Greene (Yallingup) 4.2pts.
State Champion: Bailee Hastie

1. Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup) 11.60pts, 2. Josh Cattlin (Yallingup) 10.03pts, 3. Felix Leaver (Yallingup) 9.90pts, Alex McGuffin (Bicton) 5.77pts.

State Champion: Kael Walsh

1. Mia McCarthy (Margaret River) 13.77pts, 2. Emma Cattlin (Yallingup) 12.90pts, 3. Marnie Durant (Carnarvon) 8.57pts, 4. Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) 8.20pts.  
State Champion: Mia McCarthy

1. Ben Gradisen (Gracetown) 15.17pts, 2. Finn Cox (Margaret River) 11.20pts, 3. Seth Van Haeften (Margaret River) 10.56pts, 4. Lachie Mitchell-D'raine (Duncraig) 6.10pts.                        

State Champion: Ben Gradisen 

1. Jamacia Selby (Margaret River) 12.20pts, 2. Sascha Roberts (Albany) 10.67pts, 3. Pemba Spargo (Albany) 9.70pts, 4. Alice Field (Margaret River) 7.33pts.    

State Champion: April McPherson

1. Ry Dempsey (Margaret River) 13.94pts, 2. Dexter Payenberg (Palmyra) 11.34pts, 3. Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) 11.33pts, 4. Reilley Smith (Wembley Downs)

State Champion: Ry Dempsey                                    
The 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, Futures Fins, Healthway and the Illicit Drugs in Sport Program (IDIS).

Justin Majeks

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