There was little doubt the next world champion had hit the South Coast sand during the Australian Junior Surfing Titles.
A gripping week of competition wrapped up on Saturday with 12 of the nation’s best young stars, taking home an Australian title; joining names like Mick Fanning, Tom Carroll and Stephanie Gilmore in the history books.
Surfing Australia’s Steve Robertson was positive the next big name was among them.
‘‘If you go back through the history you will find no shortage of World Champions who have won at these titles,’’ Robertson said.
‘‘There is certain to be a number of professional surfers to come out of the competition this year, every chance of a world champion.’’
More than 200 competitors hit the surf over the seven day carnival and Robertson couldn’t of been happier with how the event turned out.
‘‘It was an amazing week. There were some really challenging conditions today but it was good that we finished off with the best waves,’’ Robertson said.
‘‘It was solid two-metre plus waves which is tough conditions especially for the younger age groups.
‘‘But we got I think 12 Australian Champions including the schools divisions this week so it was super successful.
‘‘There was some seriously good surfing.’’
Of the local contingent, under 16s sensation Billy Melinz was the only surfer to make the final, finishing in second spot.
Melinz had been the form competitor heading into the final after posting a score of 14.33 in the semis, but wasn’t able to match it with Western Australian visitor Emi Campbell (10.75) in a low scoring decider.
‘‘She was very unlucky, she is a great surfer,’’ Robertson said.
‘‘Mikey Wright (under-18’s) just had a bad semi too.
‘‘Those two stand-out talents just came up short but they will bounce back, there is no doubt about that.’’
The last remaining Illawarra hope in the under-18’s field Wright fell in a high quality semi-final.
NSW compatriot Fraser Dovell (12.15) eventually claimed the title, overcoming a challenge from Kelly Slater conquerer Jacob Wilcox (8.60), NSW State Champion Monty Tait and Queensland’s Luke Hynd (both 9.75).
In other results, Macy Callaghan (14.85) pipped NSW teammate Kirra Belle Olsson (14.50) to take out the under-14 girls, while Caleb Tancred (15.65) did likewise in the boys.
Queenslander Isabella Nichols took out the under 18’s after dominating throughout the week.
Nichols easily dispatched of her rivals in her semi, before posting a score of 12.65 in the final to take home the crown.
The enormous success of the week had Robertson hopeful of a return to the South Coast in the near future.
‘‘It is a gigantic aim (to come back here), we would love to,’’ Robertson said.
‘‘Everyone who was here commented on how great the coastline is and how it offers up so many different surfing conditions.
‘‘The South Coast has been under the radar a little while now.
‘‘This event really set a standard for future events on the South Coast, there is an enormous amount of surfing talent in this area.’’