Thomas Woods

In hot almost summer like conditions at Jan Juc Beach, talented Gold Coast surfer Thomas Woods and Victoria’s own Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Island) took convincing wins in the blue ribbon 16 year Boy and Girl divisions of the prestigious Rip Curl GromSearch Series in clean small 0.5m surf.

The win qualifiers both surfers for a position in the Rip Curl GromSearch Australian final which will run at Bells Beach just prior to the Rip Curl Pro World Championship event at Bells Beach next Easter and both have the opportunity to then go on and surf in the GromSearch international final which also runs at Bells during Easter.

Thomas Woods (15 years old) was in awesome form today easily winning his semi final and taking command in the final early when he scored an excellent 8 point ride.

“I can’t believe I’ve finally won, it’s the best result of my life and to qualify for the Australian final is such a relief. I’ll surf the rest of the series with no pressure and just go big and try and win the overall ratings as well” said Woods after his win.

“These events are really hard to win with so many great young surfers competing at each event and to defeat Ryan Callinan (Newcastle) who has surfed so well all week is just a great result for me”

Woods ended the final with a score line of 14.83 for his top two rides to Callinan on 13.80 with NSW surfers Wade Carmichael and Jack Scollard in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Nikki Van Dijk’s excellent junior career took another significant step forward with her win in the Girls division. The 14 year old Phillip Island surfer surfed in both the 14 Girls and the 16 Girls division and while she had to settle for 2nd in the 14’s behind NSW rival Ellie Jean Coffey, Van Dijk dominated the 16 Girls division to take a very easy win and secure her position into the national Rip Curl GromSearch final.

Van Dijk sealed today’s win with an excellent 8.67 ride late in the final which she controlled from start to finish. Van Dijk defeated fellow Phillip Island surfer Jessica Laing with a final tally for her top two scoring rides at 16.00 to Laing on 10.03. NSW girls Lauren McAleer and Kate Raines had to settle for 3rd and 4th.

“It’s a relief to win the opening event of the series for sure because I’m now qualified for the final – the 16’s was the division I was concentrating on here so it’s worked out really well for me. I’ll do more of the GromSearch series this year as it’s such a competitive series and really good to mix it with the girls from interstate – It’s been a great week with good waves!”

Local Surfcoast surfers tasted good success today with Harrison Mann (Torquay) taking a deserved win in the 14 Boys defeating a talented final field that included interstate surfers Tyler Hutchinson, Jake Scott and Joshua Hay who placed 2nd to 4th respectively. Jan Juc’s Zoe Clarke also took an easy winner in the 12 Girls division defeating Tasmania’s Iona Renwick with Sth Gippsland Victorian surfer Kelly Laity in 3rd place.

Young Newcastle surfer Jackson Baker continued his amazing form at this event by again scoring bigger than anyone else today in his 12 year Boys final win.

With outstanding 9.17 and 9.67 rides in the final Baker outclassed today’s field and the talented young natural foot surfer has created quite an impression at this event. In today’s final he defeated Brendan Hay (NSW), Joe Van Dijk (Vic) and Tristan Forras (Vic).

Ellie –Jean Coffey’s win in the 14 Girls was some consolation for the talented Crescent Head NSW surfer who was a surprise elimination in the 16 Girls yesterday – Coffey defeated Nikki Van Dijk in her final posting two excellent 8 point rides with Zoe Clarke in 3rd and Lauren McAleer (NSW) in 4th.

Most of these talented young surfers now head north to the quality fun beachbreaks surrounding Coffs Harbour for the 2nd event of the 7 event Rip Curl GromSearch Series –  Surfing Australia’s only Grommet rated series.

Today’s SNICKERS wave of the day went to Nikki Van Dijk for her superb 8.67 ride in the final of the Girls 16 Division.

Winners of the 16’s division of the Rip Curl GromSearch ratings will receive a guaranteed place in the National Finals at Bells Beach, Victoria during the prestigious World Tour event, the Rip Curl Pro. The Rip Curl GromSearch National Series is held during this event at Easter next year, in front of the thousands of people it attracts – quite a prize for a young surfer who aspires to this.

Vic Jan Juc Sept 23-26, 2008
NSW Coffs Harbour Oct 3-6, 2008
WA Mandurah Oct 11-12, 2008
Tas Clifton Oct 25-26, 2008
SA Middleton Nov 22-23, 2008
Qld Gold Coast Dec 15-19, 2008
Sydney Cronulla Jan 17-20, 2009

National Final Bells April 6, 2009
International Final Bells April 9-14, 2009

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