Coolum High named Australia’s Best Surfing School

MR Shield 19 Girls winners Jaleesa Vincent and Isabella Nichols of Coolum State High School. Photo: Surfing Australia/Nikon

Coolum High School took top honours for school surfing at the Soundwave Australian Junior Surfing Titles on Friday, with U19 girls Jaleesa Vincent and reigning state champion Isabella Nichols winning the MR Shield.
Named after four time world surfing champion Mark Richards, the MR Shield decides Australia’s top surfing schools across three divisions – under 19 Boys and Girls and under 16 Boy’s.
The schools comp runs in conjunction with the Soundwave Australian Junior Titles, (1-8 Dec) and the prestigious MR Shield winners can comfortably claim bragging rights to being Australia’s very best schools in surfing.
The well-known Coolum boardriding duo join a long list of talented surfers who have won MR shields for their schools over the past 30 years, including World Champions, Stephanie Gilmore and Chelsea Hedges.
Along with a win in the MR Shield, Isabella Nichols took third in the U16 Girls final, a result that gives her automatic qualification for an upcoming camp at the Hurley Surfing Australia HPC, where the TravelSIM Team Australia is selected to compete in ISA World Junior Championships.
The girls’ results were boosted by a good Sunshine Coast showing across all divisions in the national junior titles, with Kai Hing, Sophie McCulloch and Laura Poncini winning in the school divisions; and Coolum’s Jack Duggan making the U18 boys’ semi-final.
Their results helped Queensland take overall honours at the week-long Soundwave Australian Junior Surfing, giving the state bragging rights as the country’s top region for junior surfing.
Coolum’s Jesse Parkinson (right) was the proud U9 boys winner in the Wahu Surfer Groms comp. Photo: Surfing Qld.

Jaleesa and Isabella’s outstanding victory will be celebrated by the Coolum Boardriders this weekend at a special congratulatory BBQ, where they will also honour over a dozen other junior members on their success in the recent Wahu Surfer Groms on the Gold Coast.
“What a couple of weeks for Colum Boardriders members. Let’s start with heartfelt congratulations to Jaleesa Vincent and Isabella Nicols for their victory in the Mark Richards Shield event,” said Coolum Boardriders President, Daryl Maudsley.
“The girls wailed their competition and still have a couple of years left in that division. A great result.”
Daryl also congratulated Coolum’s Kelly Norris on winning the Dan Thomas Memorial open division at Kawana, defeating some of the hottest open surfers on the coast in the process while also taking runner-up in the juniors.
“The Wahoo Grom Comp ran on the gold coast last weekend as well, with Coolum surfers bringing home some great results,” Daryl continued.
“We had Ellia Smith and Jade Barraclough second and third respectively in the U9 girls, Jesse Parkinson taking first and Jye Parkinson 4th in the U9 boys, Kara Peterson 2nd in the U11 girls, Amber Dodds 3rd in the U13 girls, Jack Veale 3rd in the U13 boys, and Jaleesa Vincent backed up her shield win with a 3rd in the U15 girls.”
In addition, four of the club’s surfers, Kelly Norris, Eli Criaco, Jake Vincent and Matt Williams, were nominated for the ASL (Australian Surfing Life) Hot 100 list which names and rates what it considers are the best 100 under 21 surfers in the country.
The club’s finest juniors are expected to feature again this weekend with the four-day 2012 Rip Curl Gromsearch likely to kick off at Coolum (depending on conditions) on Saturday 15 December, while event seven of the Wahu Surfer Groms series will run on the Sunshine Coast from Jan 8-9, 2013.