By Luke Voogt
Barwon Heads grommet Ellie Harrison has become the best under-14 surfer in the country after winning at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles.
Harrison was stoked as her supporters chaired her off Culburra Beach.
“I didn’t really believe it was happening,” the 12-year-old said.
Harrison posted an impressive 14.34 total to take victory in the final, two points ahead of Queensland’s Grace Kama.
“It was close, but I was in control,” she said.
Harrison surfed well beyond her years in the final, nailing an eclectic mix of backside turns to take the win.
She cruised through smooth conditions in the early heats, but battled larger waves in the final, she said.
“It was really nice the first few heats. There was a big current for the final.”
Harrison will surf for her club this weekend at Phillip Island in the Australian Board Riders Battle, before the Rip Curl GromSearch next January.
Harrison, who dreams of being a pro surfer, followed her three older brothers into waves at age six.
“I wanted to do it with them,” she said.
“They said the win was very good and they were really surprised.”
She was the first surfer in the family to win at the titles, her proud dad Steve explained.
“As a family, we’ve competed in the Australian Junior Surfing Titles for the past five years,” he said.
“My son Kelly has made the final twice in the under-14s and under-16s but Ellie was the first to win.”
The British expat from Sheffield said it took his kids little time to overtake his board-riding skills.
“I’m into it, but I’m not very good at all – the kids are way better than me.”
Past winners of titles include Steph Gilmore, Chelsea Hedges, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mark Richards, Tom Carroll and Damian Hardman.