OUTSTANDING SURFING ON DAY ONE OF QUIKSILVER WORLD GROMMET TITLES
The Quiksilver World Grommet Titles started in clean, one-metre surf at Avalon, onSydney’s Northern Beaches today with some brilliant small wave surfing on display.
Young surfers from 13 nations are competing for the four world titles on offer in theUnder 18 and Under 16 Boys, the Under 19 Girls and the Teams Title.
Outstanding performances today came from surfers from Tahiti, New Zealand,Australia and France.
The highest heat score was posted by Tahitian Michel Bourez, who scored 17.87 inwinning his Under 16 Boys first round heat.
New Zealander Bobby Hansen, competing in the Under 16 Boys division, lodged thehighest single wave score of the day – 9.33.
Jay Quinn, from Gisborne, New Zealand, top-scored in the Under 18 Boys with a heatscore of 17.06.
Quinn, 17, has been living in Sydney for the past seven months and has beencompeting on the domestic junior circuit to gain more experience.
“To win this contest would mean everything to me because I’ve competed in theQuiksilver World Grommet Titles five times and my highest placing is a seventh,”Quinn said. “It would be one of the highlights of my surfing career if I could win this.
“I’m doing all the Pro Juniors around Australia at the moment and planning to livehere for at least another year if I can, probably two or three more years. There’sbeen so much more competition here, it’s so much more intense that it’s really goodfor your surfing.”
Tahitian Alain Riou, 18, won his first round heat but found Sydney’s winter weather abit chilly.
“I’m very happy to win my heat but it’s a bit cold here coming from Tahiti,” Riou said.”I surfed in this event last year in Bali and made the semi-finals so I hope to dobetter this year.”
Riou lives near to the notorious Tahitian reefbreak Teahupoo, which he enjoyssurfing and he found the Sydney conditions really difficult.
“You have to be really quick and paddle from one peak to the other to be in the rightplace,” he said. “The waves are small and short – in Tahiti it’s longer and easier, but Igot lucky. Hopefully it will be the same for the rest of the event. “
Riou found the water temperature (at 18 degrees Celsius) as being “OK but the windis cold (16 degrees Celsius) – I think that’s the most difficult thing for us coming fromTahiti.”
At 13 years of age, Jeremy Flores, from Reunion Island, is the youngest competitor inthe event. He won his first round Under 16 Boys heat.
“The heat went well but I was tired at the end, but it was still good. I’m very happyto win,” Flores said. “This is my first time in the contest and the waves are good, andthe people are good. I’m hoping to win but I think it will be hard because I’ve justturned 13 and most people are 15 years old in my division.”
Australian U/18 Boys Champion Leigh Sedley (Sunshine Coast) came out blazing inthe first heat of the day and dominated the 20-minute encounter from start to finishagainst Luke Cedarman (New Zealand) and Gerhard du Plessis (South Africa), whofinished second and third respectively. A combination of solid backhand re-entriesand floaters earned Sedley a heat total of 15.83 points.
‘That was a lot of fun,” Sedley said. “I had a good start to the heat and the wavesare similar to a little lefthander I’ve been surfing at home so I feel pretty comfortable. I’ve surfed here a lot at Avalon and my boards are going really well so I’m just goingto take it one heat at a time and try to go all the way.”
Contest director Mal Gregson said everything was shaping up well for a sensationalweek of surfing.
“Today the surf is great surf for the grommets – three feet and really good funwaves, which are excellent conditions for them,” Gregson said.
Gregson has been involved with the Quiksilver World Grommet Titles for the pastseven years and said it’s one of his favourite events.
“There is great team spirit. They come a long way – there’s teams from Peru andPuerto Rico — and they make a huge investment in their grommets to come here forthis event and it really pays off.
“The spirit around the place is fantastic. I get to do a lot of events around thecountry and the world and this is the one that’s on the top for me. The vibe amongthe competitors just prior to the event is really tense but once we’re off and runningand they get a few results on the board everything eases down a bit and they gowith the flow.”
The Quiksilver World Grommet Titles, sanctioned by the International SurfingAssociation, will be mobile for the best possible waves from North Narrabeen to PalmBeach on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, from July 24 – 29, 2001.
For heat results and photos please check out http://www.quiksilver.com