Surf lines up for groms
SEIZING the chance to shine, up-and-coming surfers have showcased top-shelf skill on towering waves at Park Beach.
Organisers of the Rip Curl GromSearch - Coffs Harbour say a powerful southerly swell has delivered good conditions for this week's national junior event.
"There are strong winds, but this swell is significant and the groms have really been tested by the waves out there," Ripcurl's Mark Flanagan said.
"Because of the size of the waves, we rearranged the competition, so the Under 16s boys hit the water first.
"The forecast indicates the swell is due to fade, but we are hoping for good conditions right through until Thursday."
The contest has brought 150 of Australia's best junior surfers to our shores.
As the second round of the Ripcurl GromSearch series, the event features boys and girls aged 16 and under competing in three age divisions.
The top surfers in the 14s and 16s division are competing for national ratings points, as they try to follow in the footsteps of four-time World champion Steph Gilmore and world title hopefuls Laura Enever, Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson.
Among the locals making a name for themselves is Woolgoolga's Mark Merrikin, who finished second in his opening heat yesterday.
"There are some good waves out there, it's good to be surfing local beaches and its a great chance to get noticed," Mark said.
Mullaway's Fraser Bartlett is another local surfer gauging his ability against the best in his age group.
"I came third in my heat, so I'm looking forward to getting back out there, finding the right spot and catching good waves."
Organisers will look to conditions tomorrow before deciding which beach to stage the second day of action.
In other results, Northern Beaches surfers kicked the day off with both Jordan Lawler (North Narrabeen) and Jake Thompson (Avoca) posting excellent heat scores.
Jake nailed the second highest score of the day (9.80 out of 10) for two absolutely critical turns on a two-metre plus wave to set the beach alight.
Queenslanders Kelly Norris (Coolum) and Jake Morrison (Currumbin) made sure that North of the border surfers were represented, both taking wins, with Kelly locking in the first perfect 10 point ride of the event.
"The waves have heaps of power and I managed to get a good one that allowed me to do some turns. Stoked that the judges gave me a ten, you don't get them every day!" he said.
Chris Robertson (Cronulla) ensured that Southern NSW surfers didn't miss out when he locked in an 8.17 for a commanding win.
He was followed with heat wins by Kipp Caddy (Ulladulla) and Luis Gillick (Culburra).
Tommy Boucaut (Ocean Shores) surfed strongly using an 8.23 to edge out local hope and finalist from last year, Mark Merrikin (Woolgoolga).
The Air Asia Wave of the Day was won by Kelly Norris for his amazing perfect 10 point ride.
The Coopers Surf best turn of the day was given to Jake Thompson for his critically positioned snap at the height of the swell.
The Rip Curl GromSearch is presented by Telstra, with major partner Air Asia and associate partners Waves magazine and DHD surfboards.
Competition continues on the best waves of the Coffs Coast until finals day on Thursday.