Teen duo win on home turf
THEY came from Japan, Tahiti, New Zealand and all over Australia.
But local knowledge was the key to both Michael Wright and Kirsten Ogden comfortably taking out respective boys and girls' under-16 titles at the 16th annual Rusty Gromfest at Lennox Head yesterday.
Lennox Head local Wright (12.4) finished ahead of North Narrabeen's Jordan Lawler (10.85) while Suffolk Park's Ogden scored 13.90 in her final with Scotts Heads' Coco Beeby second on 10.90.
It was Wright's third straight Gromfest title while Ogden toasted a back-to-back tournament triumph.
Wright said an unexpected phone call from his professional surfing siblings Tyler and Owen gave him a boost going into his final.
“Tyler is in (Biarritz) France and Owen is in Jeffreys Bay in South Africa but they both rang me before my final to wish me luck,” Southern Cross K-12 student Wright said.
Next on Wright's radar is the King of Groms in Cabreton, France on July 23 and 24.
Wright reached the third round there last year and Gromfest director Max Perot believes he can go even better this time around.
“Mikey's one of Australia's best surfers for his age,” he said.
“He stuck to the south end in the final and this proved to be a good decision with his two strong rides.”
And No.1 seed Ogden showed great movement and wave selection to win her final.
“To go back to back is so good, I can't even explain it,” said the current Australian under-16 champion.
“The waves were challenging during my heats but that turned for me in the final.
“My coach Luke Archibald sat me down and went through strategies and that helped calm my nerves.”
Ogden is now off to compete in the Fantastic Noodles Pro Juniors for under-21s starting on Thursday and finishing Sunday in Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia.