Austinmer’s Zahlia Short is off to the Australian Junior Surfing Titles in South Australia after a successful NSW Grommet Titles on the weekend.
The 12-year-old finished third in the under 14 girls age group to book a place in the NSW team to contest December’s nationals on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Short’s younger sister Shyla also excelled at the championships, finishing second in the under 12 girls event. With the 14s being the youngest age group contested at nationals, 10-year-old Shyla will have to wait another couple of years to join her sister at the Australian Titles.
A number of other Wollongong surfers also excelled at the competition, with Shell Cove’s Oceanna Rogers finishing fourth in the under 14 girls event and Barrack Point’s Kash Smith claiming third in the under 12 boys.
The girls’ father Brendan said they faced challenging conditions and talented opposition at the championships in Maroubra, and was proud of the way they maintained focus throughout the entire competition.
“The girls did a great job adjusting to the conditions,” Brendan Short said. “There were a couple of high tide heats that were a bit more difficult, but they handled it quite well.
“They’re both at the top of their game. They were definitely aiming to be on the podium and hoping for that number one spot. But it’s extremely competitive, with a lot of talented kids out there, and with the conditions, there’s so much that can happen in a heat, so it was a great result for the girls.”
After missing out on qualifying for the Australian Titles at last year’s competition, Zhalia was determined to earn a place on the team this year and Brendan said she was extremely pleased with the result.
“Zahlia won under 12s two years ago, but last year even though she was still an under 12, she competed in the under 14s to try to get to Aussies. She got knocked out in the semis, so this year she was determined to make the finals.
“She’s really stoked she got to Aussies, she really wanted that last year and is excited to have qualified for her first Aussies this year.”