February 20, 2023

Breathtaking finals day

Round 2 of the 2023 Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles continued at Bells Beach with excellent waves and breathtaking surfing being produced throughout the day. Overnight the swell had filtered in with 3 – 4 foot waves and offshore winds greeting the junior surfers for finals day.

It was another early start with the Under 16 and 18 Boys lighting up the groomed lines of Rincon at 6:30 in the morning. It was clear from the start of the day that Willem Watson (McCrae) was in a good rhythm with the ocean and still carrying momentum from his Round 1 win at Phillip Island. In Quarterfinal One, Watson put together the highest combined heat total of the entire event, 19.00 points (out of a possible 20 points), posting a perfect 10 (out of a possible 10) point ride along with a 9 point ride.

Watson continued his run onto the final where he had a close battle against Day 1’s inform surfer, Lucas Hickson (Rye). Watson started off the heat strong using a progressive attack off the lip to score a 7 point ride and the early lead. Hickson was patiently waiting for almost half the heat to receive the highest score of the heat, an 8.33 point ride. This left him with a minor score to get into first, however Watson continued his attack on the heat with multiple powerful maneuvers to score a 7.33 point ride and an 8.03 point ride and the win in the final moments of the final.

“It feels good going back to back in both rounds. It’s also really good as it helps boost my confidence,” Watson said.

“The 10 point ride was also an awesome wave to start the day as it allowed me to hit multiple sections without any gaps in between,” he added.

Once the final had finished Lucas Hickson (Rye) came in second on 15.30 points with Willis Droomer (Jan Juc) and Jack Bassett (Barwon Heads) finishing in third and fourth respectively.

With Bells Beach pumping on the low tide the Under 14 Girls stepped up to the amazing conditions, charging through the whole final. Rose Holland (Dromana) stood out amongst her competition posting the second perfect 10 point ride of the day. Holland dropped into one of the biggest waves that rolled through the point and squared off the bottom to demolish the lip three times over on the wave. This incredible ride was backed up with a solid 7 point ride giving Holland a huge 17.00 point combined heat total.

Scarlett Rennie (Cape Woolamai) made a late run for the win with an impressive 8 point ride, however it was too late as it left her still needing a 9 point ride to make her way to the top. With the rest of the field in a combination situation for first, when all other competitors need two new scoring rides, Holland was left to claim the win.

“On my 10 point ride I knew all I needed to do was to stay steady and once I did that it felt really good,” said Holland.

"The final was so fun with great conditions also," Holland continued.

Much like the Hickson’s (Lucas and Sara) brother and sister combo on day one, Ava Holland (Dromana) continued on her sister’s momentum posting an 8.67 point ride within the first minutes of the final. She didn’t waste much time getting onto another wave scoring a 9.50 point ride for an enormous backhand snap on a large set wave out the back.

Although Holland had a solid lead, she wasn’t able to relax in the back half of the heat as Sara Hickson (Rye) got back to back excellent rides with a series of aggressive carves on both waves. Hickson’s first wave came in at an 8.97 point ride leaving her needing a 9.21 from her last wave which unfortunately came up short at 9.01.

With an 18.17 combined heat total Ava Holland took the win with Sara Hickson in second place and Sophie Wilkinson (Shoreham) and Lillian Bassed (Sandy Point) coming in third and fourth.

Other round winners include Sarsha Pancic (Blairgowrie, Under 18 Girls), Jerry Kelly (Barwon Heads, Under 16 Boys) and Arch Rayner (Inverloch, Under 14 Boys).

Results and scores from the event can be accessed via www.surfingvic.com/live

Photo: Rose Holland (Dromana) all smiles after dropping a perfect 10 point ride in the Under 14 Girls Final

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