|Jay Davies : photo SurfingAustralia.com
Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles.
Phillip Island VIC
28 November - 4 December 2004
Top Junior Surfers Celebrate Schoolies in Fine Style
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 29 November 2004: - - While many of their friends are running rampant around the Australian coastline, a selection of the nation’s best young surfers are celebrating the end of school year by advancing through to round two of the MR Shield school surfing titles, the doubles surfing division of town the week-long Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles being held at Woolamai Beach, Phillip Island.
U/19 boys, U/16 boys and U/19 girls divisions are all represented in the MR Shield, named in honour of Australian Surfing Legend Mark Richards, with cumulative heat points from both school’s representatives deciding progression.
Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW), the number one seeded girl’s competitor and winner of the award for most outstanding female at the 2003 Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles, was again heads and shoulders above her rivals as she competed alongside classmate Ashley Smith on behalf of Kingscliff High School in solid five-six foot (2m) waves today.
Together Gilmore and Smith defeated Marks Anglican Common School duo Jaala Baldock and Ashley Suckling (WA) in the U/19s division.
“It was pretty difficult, it was a lot more powerful than the waves Ashley and I have been surfing lately, but it’s almost what you expect here in Victoria,” said Gilmore. “Our game plan was to keep an eye on each other and make sure we both got our share of waves. Sandra English, our coach was really helpful too, telling us where to sit. Plus we’ve got the team down there in the tent on the beach, cheering us on.”
In a gritty display of determination and gusto, pint sized Newhaven College local Jake Plant (Phillip Island, Vic) took on the large surf with butterfly stitches and water proof tape plastered across his forehead after his surfboard fin sliced him during an early warm up session. Surfing alongside classmate Jackson Collins, the pair ultimately were relegated to the repocharge round by brothers Noah and Jackson Lane of St. Patricks College (QLD), but the effort earned Plant plenty of kudos from his team on the beach.
“I had a headache the whole time I was out there “, explained Plant, before heading to the local medical centre to be stitched up. “It’s not too bad I think. I was just trying not to fall off because I was worried about the tape coming off.”
Plant’s forehead gash ranks him among a unique trio of injured contestants competing in the Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles.
U/18 South Australian state champion surfer Kyle Gilbert (Seaford, SA) and U/16 New South Wales state champion Chris Salisbury (Newport, NSW) are also injured. Gilbert surfed his round one heat with a broken collar bone yesterday before withdrawing from his repocharge heat eventually won today by Finn Barry (Apollo Bay, Vic) with Jayke Sharpe (Sandy Beach, NSW) in second. While Salisbury is surfing with a water-proof cast on his broken wrist.
“I came a week early and it’s been hurting so much I only had my first surf in my heat in the individuals yesterday”, explained Gilbert. “The whole time it felt like someone was stabbing me. I was hoping it would come good, but it hasn’t and it looks like it might be broken. It’s not a good look, I’m the state champion and I couldn’t even get out of a heat!” he joked.
Salisbury, meanwhile, fared a little better today after advancing from his repocharge heat behind Jack Bestall (Trigg Beach, WA). Dale Semmens (SA) finished third and Will Bakker (Leith, Tas) finished fourth and were both eliminated.
Other pairs to advance in the MR Shield included Wonthaggi Secondary College (Vic) duo Kate Wells and Jessica Crowe. They defeated Palm Beach-Currumbin State High School (QLD) duo Terri Redmond and Jess Pybus.
In the U/16 boys Kincumber High School duo (NSW) Cameron Pitts and Eddie Toomey defeated Halls Head Community College (WA) duo Todd Quartermaine and Brendon Collision.
Following this morning’s MR Shield heats, competition resumed with the blue ribbon U/18 boys repocharge heats before moving into the girls U/16s repocharge.
Flashy WA surfer, Jay Davies (Yallingup) kept his hopes for a coveted national title alive. With a little prompting from WA Coach Mark “Boonga” Clift, Davies turned his lackluster day one performance around overnight to blast out of the gate and secure one of today’s highest heat scores versus Ashley King (Culburra, NSW), Nathan Van Roosmalen (Bateau Bay, NSW) and Rhys Hillman (SA).
Davies was on fire in the solid surf, pulling powerful combination moves, and looking right at home for an eventual two wave combined heat score of 14.83 out of 20, which included an excellent 8.5 for one wave.
WA Coach Mark “Boonga” Clift said he had a stern chat to Davies last night, informing the youngster to lift his game: “He’s been doing so many photo shoots and free surfing away overseas with his sponsors he couldn’t construct a good heat strategy,” explained Clift. “I told him, mate, when you wake up tomorrow you’ve gotta turn your whole act around and surf to your potential. Which is exactly what he did, I could see it in his eyes when he left the water.”
Davies now progresses to round three of the repocharge and will have to keep top form if he is to survive to the final scheduled for Saturday.
U/16 girls surfer Brianna Lenton (Sunshine Beach, QLD) secured the day’s highest single wave score of 9.33 in her repocharge heat versus Kirra Townsend (Sawtell, NSW), Felicity Palmateer (Trigg, WA) and Sam Faulkner (Clifton beach, Tas).
The Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles will resume tomorrow with round two of the MR Shield school teams division. The large swell is expected to maintain and organisers will make at a decision at 6:30 am, with the option of moving between 20 possible Phillip Island surf breaks depending on conditions.
The Quiksilver Australian Grommet Titles is arguably the most important junior event in Australia, deciding national champions in U/18 and U/16 boys and U/18 girls divisions along with the teams to 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 also decides the nation’s top schools by way of the coveted “MR Shield” and features an “All Stars” surfing component.
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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