Ellie shines at Wahu Groms

Ellie Harrison in action at the Wahu Groms event at Ocean Grove. 162142 Pictures: Cahill Bell-Warren / Surfing Victoria

THE Victorian stop of the Wahu Surfers Groms Comps concluded at Ocean Grove on Sunday, crowning six champions across seven divisions.
Barwon Heads surfer Ellie Harrison finished runner-up in the Under 14s event.
A small overnight swell increase and a second consecutive day of light winds provided an excellent stage for the field of enthusiastic grommets.
The standout performer of the day was 10-year-old Willis Droomer (Jan Juc), claiming wins in both the Under 12 and Under 14 Boys finals.
Droomer only entered the Under 14 Boys at the last minute, taking an alternate position in the draw after a late injury withdrawal from to a fellow junior surfer.
The extra workload failed to dampen Droomer’s scoring power, winning all of his eight heats across the two day event.
“This Wahu event was great fun,” an elated Droomer said.
“The waves were a little tricky but there were some good sections, I just focused on surfing smart heats and it paid off.”
Second place in the Under 14 Boys went to event standout Ethan Huxtable (Jan Juc), with Spencer Kay (Jan Juc) placing third over local Zeph Lamperd.
In the girls eldest division, Sage Goldsbury’s (Cape Woolamai) two wave total of 17.04 (out of a possible 20) proving too strong for her opponents.
Barwon Heads’ Ellie Harrison was left searching for a major score on her last ride but was unable to take the lead, finishing in second with a 14.17 total.
“I really enjoy the Wahu format, with everyone getting to surf at least twice,” Goldsbury said.
“It was just what I needed before the Australian Junior Titles at home next week.”
This place went to Poppy Corbett, with Bea Conroy rounding out the final in fourth place.
Conroy was also awarded the Woolworths Fresh Wave Award, presented to the best and fairest female surfer from each event. Conroy displayed a high degree of sportsmanship and exhibited future surfing talent and as a result received a $250 Woolworths voucher.
The boys Woolworths Fresh Wave Award went to Malachi White after his breakthrough performance in the Under 12 Boys division.
Champions were also crowned in several other divisions after a long day of surfing, including Mia Huppatz (Jan Juc, Under 12 Girls), Lachlan Smith (Newcastle, Under 10 Boys), Sara Hickson (Blairgowrie, Under 10 Girls) and Teal Lamperd (Barwon Heads, Under 8).
Regarded as one of the major stepping stones in the development of young Australian surfers, the nine-event Wahu Surfer Groms Comps presented by Woolworths caters for surfers from Under 8 to Under 14 and will be held in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia over summer. The Under 8 is a mixed division with parent assists.
As an added bonus, the respective winners of the Under 14 boys’ and girls’ divisions from each event will receive an invite to attend an all-expenses paid, three-day Wahu Surf Camp at the Hurley Surfing Australia High-Performance Centre (HPC).
For the South Australian and Victorian events, the Wahu Surf Camp prize will be awarded to the highest place Under-14 Boy and Girl who reside in that respective State.
The Wahu Surfer Groms Comps presented by Woolworths have helped to launch the careers of many of Australia’s most promising junior surfers with more than 800 children set to take part in the 2016/17 event series.
Previous champions include Matt Banting, Jacob Willcox, Luke Hynd, Eli Steele, Kai Hing, Chris Zaffis, Quinn Bruce, Ellie-Jean Coffey, Macy Callaghan, Isabella Nichols, Holly Wawn and Laura Poncini.