IF LATE starter Tori Farmer becomes the best female surfer of her age on the Sunshine Coast, a World Championship Tour berth may not be far away.
That is the reality for a 17-year-old female on the Coast.
Two of Farmer's chief rivals in her age group are Laura Poncini - a top-50 finisher in last year's World Qualifying Series - and Jaleesa Vincent, who will represent Australia in the International Rip Curl Gromsearch final after winning the national title this month.
All three are just a year younger than Coolum sensation Isabella Nichols, who beat world top-10 surfer Laura Enever in last month's WQS opener in China.
"We're all heaps close," Farmer said.
"We hang out heaps. Surf, have sleepovers. It's pretty sick. They kind of just rip so hard and they just push me and I just want to get close to them and beat them one day."
Farmer knows that will not be easy.
She is a latecomer to surfing, starting at age 13 after doing gymnastics for most of her childhood.
"Most of my friends started surfing at six and have been competing since they were 10 and I've only been doing this three, four years, so I'm trying to catch up," she said.
After some impressive junior performances - including a fourth at last year's state championships - Farmer is preparing for her WQS debut this weekend at Burleigh.
She will go up against an impressive field led by Buderim's Dimity Stoyle, who is about to embark on her second season on the world tour, and including Poncini, Nichols and Vincent.
"I see Dimity out at the points at Noosa and she's ripping and she's just riding all sorts of boards," Farmer said.
Farmer will also go to next month's Hurley Australian Open Pro Junior event, another Pro Junior and a WQS event in Newcastle, then a 6000-point (the second-highest level event on the WQS) tournament in New Zealand.
She is also thinking about competing in Europe - all while completing Year 12 as a prefect at St Andrew's Anglican College and becoming a qualified personal trainer.
While most surfers in the WQS are vying to become one of the six surfers to qualify for the following year's WCT, Farmer only wants experience.
"This will be my first year trying out for the QS - give it a go and try out for next year," she said. "I'm not going down there expecting to win or anything, but if I could win a couple of heats I would be stoked."
Last year, Nichols and Poncini competed in the France and Portugal WQS events, getting experience and increasing their rankings leading into this year.
They both finished the year in the top 50.
Nichols continued her good form at this month's 6000-point Samsung Galaxy Hainan Pro in China, losing in the fourth round to WCT surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb and former WCT surfer Justine Dupont.
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