GERRINGONG’S Holly Wishart will put all her hard work and skills to the test later this month, when she competes in the world’s biggest pre-junior surf festival – the Hurley BL’s Blast Off.
Wishart, 12, will be just one of 350 groms competing at Palm Beach, on Sydney’s northern beaches from September 26-29 – a challenge she is thoroughly looking forward to.
“The BL Blast Off is a fun and friendly event that I hope further helps me improve my surfing and competition skills,” Wishart said.
“There are lots of other things happening during the event, which should be heaps of fun.
“In terms of my own expectations, I hope to perform as well as I can in the early rounds to make it through to the semi finals.
“If I make it any further, I will be really happy.”
Wishart, who will be competing in the girls 12 and under division at the Hurley BL’s Blast Off, has been surfing since the age of four, when her father Cliff would push her onto waves before helping her stand up and ride it as far as I could to the beach.
“My family have always enjoyed going to the beach and dad has always surfed so my sister and I wanted to do it too,” she said.
“Growing up, I have been surrounded by many people who have given me lots of support and encouragement with my surfing.
“Where I live I occasionally get to surf with Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright.
“They are really great role models who I look up to.”
The past 18 months have been particularly strong for Wishart, who accomplishments include; first in South Coast junior regional titles under 12, first in Wahu Surfer Grom competition at Kiama, first Werri Beach Boardriders open women’s champion (all 2016) and first South Coast junior regional titles under 14 (2017).
Wishart credits a lot of success to her club, the Werri Beach Boardriders.
“The Werri Boardriders club have played a huge part in my surfing progress,” she said.
“I first joined the grommets division, which is a very well run organisation.
“Since moving up to the senior ranks, I have been supported and encouraged by all the members.
“For the past two years, I surfed in the annual Werri Slash, which is the biggest and longest running surfing competition on the South Coast and I surfed as part of the Werri Boardriders team, as the female member, at the recent Boardriders Battle at Bombo.
“The club has organised coaching clinics which helps improve my surfing and development.
“Also, the club’s monthly point scores gives me lots of competition experience.
“Because I’m still only young and pretty small everyone looks after me out in the surf – they are a great bunch of guys and girls.”
While Wishart hopes to continue her strong form at the Hurley BL’s Blast Off, in its 12th year of competition, she has big hopes for the future.
“After the BL Blast, I have the Rip Curl Gromsearch at Maroubra Beach, before next month I have two Wahu Surfer Grom Comps at Cronulla and Kiama,” she said.
“My short term goal is to get my junior ranking into the top 20.
“There are a lot of really good surfers around and to be in the top 20 would be great.”
Wishart will be joined by two other South Coast surfers at the Hurley BL’s Blast Off - Ulladulla’s Claire Bierke (girls 14 and under) and Wreck Bay’s Kalani Wellington-McConnell (12 boys and under).