First Round Upsets As Quiksilver Grommet Gets Underway In Sydney

Reigning world junior champion Warwick Wright, from South Africa, was a shock first round loser in the Quiksilver Grommet, which started in clean half to one-metre surf at Sydney’s North Narrabeen Beach today.

Wright finished last in his heat, which was won by Australian Dave Mellon (Sunshine Coast, Queensland) on 15 points (out of 30) with Great Britain’s Lloyd Cole second (10.10) and Wright third with 9.90.

However, Wright, who only won his title at the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games in Durban, South Africa, last month, gets a reprieve as he will now go through a requalifying round to try to get back into the main event.

Teams from nine nations are vying for ISA world titles in three individual divisions at the Quiksilver Grommet – Under 18 and Under 16 Boys, and Under 19 Girls, plus the overall Teams Title.Eight heats of the first round of the Under 18 Boys were surfed today and standouts included New Zealand’s Bobby Hansen and Australia’s Beau Walker (Byron Bay, NSW) who both scored strong first-up wins.

Hansen and Walker clearly won their first round heats with dynamic surfing. In heat one, Hansen scored 21.25 out of 30 points to defeat Tahitian Michel Bourrez (13.65) and Japan’s Ryuji Iwata (11.25), while Walker scored 21.4 points in heat two (the highest of the round) to defeat Spain’s Gony Zubizarreta (15.9), South Africa’s Gerard Du Plesis (15.85) and Great Britain’s Luke Cromwell (7.5).

Other round one heat winners were: Ryan Campbell (Sunshine Coast, Queensland); Masahiro Sakai (Japan), Matt Scorringe (New Zealand); Tevita Gukilau (Palmyra, Western Australia); and Masami Sakai (Japan).

Two-time world champion Tom Carroll officially opened the Quiksilver Grommet at Sydney Lakeside Resort in brilliant winter sunshine at Narrabeen today.

Carroll, 40, thanked all the teams for making the effort to come to Australia to compete.

“South Africa did a fantastic job to win last month’s ISA World Surfing Games,” Carroll said. “Surfing is pretty much an individual sport so I’d like to welcome and wish the best of luck to all those individuals who are going to compete this week and I hope the waves turn it on. Narrabeen usually has the most powerful wave of the area so hopefully we’ll get the correct winds for the beach.”

The Mayor of Pittwater, Patricia Giles, also welcomed the competitors to the northern beaches. “We know that all the effort you have put in is going to make this trip worthwhile and I’m sure you’ll do us all very proud,” she said.

The vice-president of the ISA, and president of Surfing Australia, Alan Atkins, said the Quiksilver Grommet was a real springboard for all junior surfing in the world.

“We’ve had a lot of surfers who have gone onto great things from this contest,” Atkins said. “I’m sure we’ll see a lot of names moving forward out of this group as we look through the contest results in the future. Surfing Australia has worked on this event in Bali and Australia since 1989 and it’s quite a passion for us. We’re all looking forward to a strong standard of competition.”

New Zealand performed a traditional haka ceremony.New Zealand, the current titleholders of the teams event, performed a traditional haka ceremony. Until New Zealand’s victory last year, Australia had won every teams title since the inaugural Quiksilver Grommet in Bali in 1989.

However, both teams are expecting a strong challenge from the South Africans, who recently won the teams event at the Quiksilver ISA World Surfing Games in Durban, South Africa.

The Quiksilver Grommet continues all week in the best surfing conditions on Sydney’s northern beaches.