Coledale’s Luke Wrice is hoping to use this week’s World Junior Championships as a launching pad for his surfing career as he looks to make a mark on the WSL Qualifying Series in 2018.
Wrice will be flying the flag for the south coast as the world’s best junior surfers descend on Kiama for the week-long competition. The event will be the 18-year-old’s final junior surfing competition and he is confident he can improve on his third round exit at last year’s World Junior Championships.
“It’s an important event,” Wrice said. “I’m aiming to contest some QS [Qualifying Series] events this year, if you can get a good result here you can miss a lot of the smaller events and get wildcards into the big events.
“To improve on last year, I just need stay focused and make sure I’ve got the right tactics and be prepared for all conditions.”
The 18-year-old saw his surfing develop in 2017. His year was highlighted by victory at the Pro Junior Kiama competition in April and he’s looking forward to returning to Bombo Beach.
“It’s good to compete at Kiama. I get to stay at home, sleep in my own bed, I know the place pretty well and I’m familiar with it all.”
This year marks the second straight year Bombo Beach will play host to the competition and contest director Will Hayden-Smith said the event will pit the world’s best junior surfers against each other.
“For anyone who is 18 and under and who surfs, this is the pinnacle,” Hayden-Smith said. “If you can win this event, it almost guarantees that you’re going to go on and qualify for the senior world championship and contest for world titles.”
Since its creation in 1998, the event has acted as a launching pad for a number of stars, with former winners including Joel Parkinson and Sally Fitzgibbons.
Terrigal’s Macy Callaghan enters the women’s event as defending champion. The 17-year-old defeated world champion Tyler Wright in September and is hoping to qualify for next year’s WSL Championship Tour.
“It was a long year,” She said. “But it was really good. I started off the year here and came very close to that Championship Tour slot, but hopefully this year I can continue to improve.”