Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp
Duranbah, Gold Coast Australia
July 5-6, 2008
July 7, 2008: – – While surfing icon Mark Occy Occhilupo jetted off to Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa today for the next leg of the World Tour, the grommet-fest named after him continues to roll on with the nation’s top young guns igniting the well-known beach break peaks of Duranbah on the Gold Coast.
The Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp, which kicked off under the watchful eye of Occhilupo on Saturday, entered day two with the 14 and under boys hittin’ the water for round one heats. Stormy 1-1.5 meter waves were once again on the smorgasbord for Australia’s top young surfers as a new breed of stars made their mark.
Future surfing ace Noa Deane (Coolangatta), son of Gold Coast surfing legend Wayne Deane, stamped his authority, carving and wafting his way through to round two with the day’s highest combined heat total.
The Coolangatta kid was on fire at his home break, mixing polished rail-to-rail carves with a smooth, free-flowing approach to upstage highly rated Port Macquarie surfer Matt Banting, New Zealand gun Tane Wallis and Tahitian Tukea Cowan in a high scoring heat.
“It was fun out there,” said Deane, who currently leads the U/14 boy’s state-qualification series in Queensland. I surf out here most days, so I feel really comfortably with whatever it throws at me.” A pair of 8’s (8.00 and a 8.50) gave Deane the winning edge, finishing with a 16.50 two-wave total.
Despite amassing the day’s highest individual wave of a 9.57, Banting could only manage a 5.50 for his second scoring ride to advance behind Deane into the next round. Byron Bay ripper Soli Bailey was just as impressive in the day’s opening heat, unleashing a radical display of high performance surfing to beat Will Morrison (Tweed Heads West), Liam McNeven (Tugun) and Daniel Hoskin (Lennox Head).
The pint-sized natural footer came out flaring in the morning’s mid-tide conditions, netting a 7 and a 6.33 to finish two points clear of runner-up Morrison, with McNeven (5.90) in third and Hoskin (5.43) in fourth. “I’m so frothin’ to come away with the win,” said Bailey. “I haven’t been doing so well in contests lately, so its great to get a confidence builder heading into the next round.”
Bailey has impressed since bursting onto the junior surfing scene, chalking up wins on the Australian junior surfing scene and is excited to be competing in the prestigious event. “It awesome to be here,” he said. “For me it’s the most important event of the year. I’ve been training hard, so hopefully I can come away with a good result.”
Tahitian youngster Yan also ruffled some serious feathers, downing his Australian foes Jake Scott (Maroubra), Zye Norris (Noosa) and Navarone Davis (Copacabana) in a dominating performance. Yan is one of a large group of Tahitians who have traveled to Australia to compete in numerous junior events. Guided by current U/16 world champion Tamaroa McComb, the Tahitians represent a new stronghold in junior surfing ranks.
Yesterday, Margaret River prodigy Creed McTaggart made his intentions clear, trouncing Beau Cram (Cabarita), Mick McCarron (Maroochydore) and Aritoe Tefeafona (Tahiti) in the first 14 and under boys’s heat.
14-year-old McTaggart, who won the 12 and under division of Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp in 2006, proved exactly why he has been earmarked as the next big thing in surfing, milking D-Dah for all it was worth to finish with the division’s highest two-wave combination of a 17.27 (out of a possible 20).
The prestigious five-day tournament also has a reputation for spawning fresh, unknown surfing talent. Today was no different with unheralded Phoenix Graham of Crescent Head downing highly rated North Narrabeen surfer Cooper Chapman. The hot surfing action continued into the afternoon with the 16 and under boys getting another crack at D-Bah’s peaks with round two being completed.
Competiition will resume tomorrow morning at 8am with the blue ribbon 16 and under girls hittin’ the water first up. For the daily event location please phone the Surfing Queensland event hotline on (07) 3030 6388.
The Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp features five surfing divisions including 16/U Boy’s, 16/U Girl’s, 14/U Boy’s, 14/U Girl’s and 12/U Boy’s. The Billabong Occy’s Grom Comp is supported by Panasonic and Surfing QLD.
Check out some video footage of the early action at the Occy Grom Comp.