Occy Grom Comp competitors revel at Canggu River Mouth rights!
Friday August 15 2008: Mark Occhilupo, the 1999 ASP World Surfing Champion, arrived at Canggu Beach today in Bali and was treated to a showcase of future stars of the sport, particularly Indonesian youngsters competing in the annual Occy Grom Comp which makes up a part of this final Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia 2008 event.
"I love these Grom Comps, the kids are just so stoked on surfing and the way they surf is so refreshing. Indonesian kids are just developing at an incredible rate – they have so many fantastic waves on reefs and beaches and I really think it's not too far off when we'll see them seriously competing at the highest level on the ASP World Tour – How good will that be!" exclaimed the popular champion in between checking the heats and signing posters for all the stoked kids on the beach.
With a super international field of 16 year and under surfers, performances were literally going through the roof with just about every heat seeing high risk aerial moves pulled precisely.
Aerials have been a feature throughout the event with the river mouth bank enjoying a neat inside cross shore fanning breeze that is perfect for launching big aerials.
In the 14 and under division Australia's Matt Banting set the scene with several excellent rides which included aerials and commented on his approach saying – "When the winds are right and the wave sections like that then you really have to go big and pull aerials; it's just so much a part of surfing these days and to stay on top I think you have to be able to pull them."
Banting has had an amazing run of recent success with no less than five national grommet event victories over the past two months in Australasia including the Occy Grom Comp in Queensland in June which began his present winning run!
"I'm more about having fun competing than worrying about winning at the moment and it's a good feeling – The waves are great here but the field is exceptional so I'll just do my best."
Sixteen Year and under competitors followed the 14 year division today and Gold Coast Australian surfer Thomas "Tiger" Woods continued the run of aerial dominance by posting a big opening round win.
Other grommet's to stand out included super talented 12 year old South African surfer Benji Brand (Cape Town) who not only progressed comfortably through his under 14 heat but also surfed incredibly well in the Pro Junior division to make it to the final 16 where he eventually went down to number one seed Nick Vasicek.
Brand's brother Davey Brand also dominated in the 16 Boy's while Tamaroa McComb is also surfing the 16 Boy's and could well take a unique double win here.
Two Balinese surfers have advanced to the quarter finals of the Billabong Pro Junior Series division and the locals are assured that one will progress to the semi finals as Wayan Susiana meets Raditya Rondi in the quarter finals.
While all the final eight surfers look capable of winning here, one particular match up that is anticipated will be quarter final one where Tamaroa McComb takes on emerging Australian powerhouse Ice Periera (Gold Coast).
Periera is enjoying his best ever event here and has been super strong through his early rounds consistently posting high 8 and outstanding 9 point rides. He pulled an amazing "Superman" aerial in round three that saw him rewarded the events highest single score to date with a 9.5 and his clash with McComb should be special.
Contest Director Kopling pushed the grommets hard today getting through 24 heats as he anticipates both good waves and a sense of urgency to complete the event tomorrow.
Kopling explained the surf outlook saying, "A new swell is coming and I think it's very good for surf here tomorrow so we'll try and surf the best waves of the week and run all finals in good surf. Also Sunday will be big, probably too big for the beach breaks so we really have to go."
Quarter Finals of the Billabong Pro Junior Series Indonesia /Canggu are as follows –
1. Tamaroa McComb Vs Ice Periera
2. Wayan Susiana Vs Raditya Rondi
3. Heath Joske Vs Jack Freestone
4. Keanu Asing (HAW) Vs Nick Vasicek.