|Julian Wilson : photo SurfingAustralia.com
Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles.
Phillip Island VIC
28 November - 4 December 2004
Coolum surfer Julian Wilson sets the pace in round one
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 28 November 2004: - - Coolum surfer Julian Wilson has set the pace in round one of the Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles U/18 division held in two-three foot (1m) surf at Phillip Island’s Woolamai Beach today. Wilson, a finalist at Stradbroke Island in 2003, scored the highest individual wave of score of 9.25 out of 10 in the shifty beach break conditions to ultimately defeat rivals Dan Waddell (Yallingup, WA), Ethan Wilson (no relation, South Hobart, Tas) and Jayke Sharp (Sandy Beach, NSW) by a margin of more than six points.
The clear cut victory marks a solid opening campaign for all four of Queensland’s U/18 surfers with Brent Dorrington (Coolangatta), Mitchell Coleborn (Maroochydore) and Dean Iezzi (Sunshine Beach) all claiming victories and progressing directly to round two.
Wilson, hailed as one of Australia’s future stars, connected half a dozen critical turns as he negotiated the oncoming sections of his ride, first taking off to the right and surfing on his forehand, before cutting back and floating left then linking the wave through to the beach.
"I was actually lucky with that wave," explained Wilson. "Dan (Waddell) was looking at it and couldn’t quite catch it. So I went and it walled up really well all the way to the inside which wasn’t happening a lot today. It kind of reminded me of the surf we get at home, probably a bit more powerful though, and colder, but I like those kind of waves ‘cause I’m used to it."
While Wilson’s performance has served a ‘heads-up’ to his competitors, a host of other names have advanced along with him today to round two including NSW state champion Matt Wilkinson (Copacabana), local Victorian state champion Carl Wright (Phillip Island) and West Australia champion Tom Whimmer (Trigg).
Wilkinson, the number one event seed, actually finished a close second to Whimmer, but was looking comfortable in the small conditions having just returned from the warm and powerful waves of Hawaii. The goofy foot and winner of last year’s 2003 U/16 title focused on the longer lefthanders and finished more than five points ahead of Stuart Campbell (Moe, Vic) third and Eric Menogue (Scamander, Tas) fourth.
"I haven’t actually ridden my short board for weeks, but it felt pretty good," said Wilkinson. "Plus in Hawaii you don’t need a wetsuit either so I had a quick surf yesterday and a little warm up this morning, which helped. Most importantly it’s good to get the first heat out of the way and try to get in a rhythm."
Meanwhile Wright had local knowledge on his side in his round one heat against Dorrington, Ashley King (NSW) and John Davies (Margaret River, WA). Wright managed to find length of ride at his home break and advance behind Dorrington, leaving King and Davies to fight it out in the repocharge.
"That was only my second surf on a new board and I was feeling a little bit of pressure with everyone I know coming up and wishing me luck and asking how I was gunna go, but I was happy I got through," said Wright.
Tim Stevenson (Torquay, Vic) was another of the local U/18 surfers to progress directly to round two in addition to Beau Atchison (Copacabana, NSW), Tim Wrench (Ulludulla, NSW) and Nick McMullen who also advanced, before round one of the U/16 boys division hit the water.
Organisers are expecting a rise in swell overnight with offshore winds and balmy skies forecast for tomorrow (Monday, 29th Nov) when action will resume.
The Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles is arguably the most important junior event in Australia and decides national champions in U/18 and U/16 boys and U/18 girls divisions who then represent Australia at the annual Quiksilver ISA World Championships. The ISA is recognised as the governing body for surfing by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), the world’s largest governing sports body.
The Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles is proudly supported by the Victorian Government Water Safety Initiative "Play it Safe by the Water", Torquay Mineral Water, Phillip Island nature Park and Bass Coast Shire.
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