Almost one hundred eager grommets converged on Coolum earlier this week to battle it out in the water and participate in loads of beach games and giveaways in the Wahu Surfer Groms comp.
Run over two days (7-8 January), the Sunshine Coast competition was event seven of the annual Wahu Surfer Groms series, with the final leg set down for Wollongong, NSW in February.
The Australia-wide comp caters for the mini, micro groms (U/7) and the big kids alike (U/15) of any level, and is all about providing a fun, but competitive environment, with the popular beach games proving just as much a battle ground as the hotly-contested surfing heats.
Coolum’s talented pool of up-and-coming grommets featured heavily in the divisional heats, with 1m glassy conditions greeting surfers for the finals on day two of competition.
In the boys Under 15 (Blue Ribbon) final, Aaron Kelly (Sunshine Beach) put together a combined wave total of 11.94 to best Connor Lyons (Castaways Beach, Kane Landsberg (Currimundi) and Reef Heazlewood (Moffat Beach).
In the girls Under 15 Division, Sunshine Coast surfer Sophie McCulloch (Alexandra Headland) edged out Coolum golden girl Jalessa Vincent for the Blue Ribbon win, with Kiani Dobbyn (Palm Beach) and Phoebe King (Marcoola) taking third and fourth respectively.
Between beach games of Dodge ball and Football, Queensland’s next crop of surfing superstars emulated their older heroes and champions to be crowned across all divisions.
As hosts for the big event, Coolum’s boardriding community couldn’t have been happier with the results – their local surfers featuring in almost every divisional final.
But it was Coolum’s tiniest surfing talent that earned the most respect, with micro-grom Ashton Pignat winning the U7’s mixed crown while also scoring a fourth in the U9’s final.
Jesse Parkinson romped home as the U9 boys division winner ahead of Forest Glen’s Seb McDonald – with fellow Coolum boardriders Ashton (Pignat) and Kai Barraclough finishing fourth and fifth behind him.
Other Coolum boardriders featuring in the finals included Jaleesa Vincent (2nd U15’s), Kara Peterson (3rd U13’s), U11 girls Ellia Smith (3rd) and Jade Barraclough (5th) and Zane Assink (4th) in the U11 boys division.
“A big congratulations to all the kids who got in and gave it their best shot. Especially Zane Assink, who competed with his feet shredded from the rocks at Noosa – clearly nothing stops him,” said Coolum Boardriders representative Erica Henderson.
“We are very proud of all our kids who competed and the support team in attendance at this event.”
The Wahu Surfer Groms Sunshine Coast was proudly supported by Wahu, Surfing Australia, Surfing Queensland, Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd.
More photos from the event can be viewed at www.facebook.com/surfingqueenslandinc
Wahu Surfer Grom Comp – Sunshine Coast Results
Under 15 Boys – 1st Aaron Kelly (Sunshine Beach), 2nd Connor Lyons (Castaways Beach), 3rd Kane Landsberg (Currimundi), 4th Reef Heazlewood (Moffat Beach).
Under 15 Girls – 1st Sophie McCulloch (Alexandra Hds), 2nd Jalessa Vincent (Coolum Beach), 3rd Kiani Dobbyn (Palm Beach), 4th Phoebe King (Marcoola).
Under 13 Boys – 1st Luke Glover (Caloundra), 2nd John McLaughlin (Buderim), 3rd Alister Reginato (Alexandra Hds), 4th Eli Carr (Lennox Head).
Under 13 Girls – 1st Holly Williams (Buddina), 2nd April Sweet (Shelly Beach), 3rd Kara Peterson (Coolum), 4th Jolie Love (Buddina).
Under 11 Boys – 1st Will Muskens (Battery Hill), 2nd Tane Dobbyn (Palm Beach), 3rd Brayden Drew (Wurtulla Beach), 4th Zane Assink (Coolum).
Under 11 Girls – 1st Holly Williams (Buddina), 2nd Mahlia Carr (Lennox Head), 3rd Ellia Smith (Coolum), 4th Zahli Kelly (Wooloowin), 5th Jade Barraclough (Coolum).
Under 9 Boys – 1st Jesse Parkinson (Coolum), 2nd Seb McDonald (Forrest Glen,), 3rd Ty Richardson (Palm Beach), 4th Ashton Pignat (Coolum), 5th Kai Barraclough (Coolum).
Under 9 Girls – 1st Jayde Campbell (Battery Hill), 2nd Abbey Stumer (Innes Park), 3rd Logan Dalton (Bar Beach), 4th Taylor Stumer (Innes Park), 5th Ruby Wilcox (Margaret River).
Under 7 Mixed – 1st Ashton Pignat (Coolum), 2nd Haylie Powell (Moolooah Valley), 3rd Joshua Wilcox (Margaret River), 4th Rex Henderson (Wurtulla), 5th Tom Stumer (Innes Park).