Lucky break for surfing buddies
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
MEMO to publicity gurus in town. The simple poster stuck in a surfshop window does work.
A couple of days before returning home from a holiday in Bali, young Coffs Harbour surfer Alex Swadling saw a poster advertising the upcoming Rip Curl Grom Search Indonesia at Keremas Beach.
"I was driving past one day and said 'We should stop and have a look inside the surfshop at the posters'," the 13-year-old said.
"Dad let me off and drove up the street a bit more and I saw the date as the 30th which was the day we were leaving and thought we probably couldn't go in it but dad said 'No we can go in it' so we went back in to the shop and entered."
Sawtell surfer Billy Kean, who had just completed a training camp in Sumatra camp, was also entered into the competition by his younger surfing buddy.
Come the day of the Grom Search, the right-hand break at Keremas was definitely to the liking of both boys as their results showed.
Kean won the under 16s section at the event while Swadling won his quarter-final on the way to making the final and finishing fourth in the under 14s.
"It was a perfect break, it broke in the same spot every time so it was a pretty easy wave to surf," Kean said.
Coming in from deep water, the wave would hit a big slab of rock causing it to pitch over before finally stopping on the beach's black sand.
Swadling has been receiving coaching from former pro Lee Winkler and he says the advice and tactics he has passed on proved invaluable through the heats and finals.
"I used little things like where to sit and blocking people if they're trying to paddle to the inside," he said.
"Also things like the first turn, you've got to hit it vertical to get the most points and I was trying land everything."
As the only two Australians entered, both Kean and Swadling enjoyed tremendous support from the local spectators as well as the spoils of their outstanding form on the day which included plenty of Rip Curl gear.