Wishart and Buckpitt claim opening round victories

Photo: Ethan Smith (Surfing NSW)
Photo: Ethan Smith (Surfing NSW)

THE Billabong Oz Grom Cup presented by Flight Centre got off to a flying start Tuesday, as the opening rounds of competition got underway in picturesque three-to-four foot waves at Park Beach.

South Coast duo Holly Wishart (Werri Beach) and Keira Buckpitt (Culburra) sent a warning shot to their fellow competitors claiming victories in the opening round of 12-and-under girls, along with Zahlia Short (Austinmer) and California Barrett (Banora Point, NSW).

While all aforementioned surfers stood out in the playful conditions Barrett shone, posting a massive 14.77 heat total to seal her spot in the third round. 

Dakoda and Harley Walters (Angourie, NSW) both made their intentions clear as the brothers proceeded to nail the 16-and-Under and 12-and-under boys divisions.

Both brothers notched up the highest heat totals of their respective divisions (Dakoda: 18.4 and Harley: 15.83 – out of a possible 20 points) to earn their spot straight into the third round.

Jack O’Brien (Lennox Head, NSW) posted a pair of excellent scores (8.0 and above) to muster up the highest heat total of the 14-and-Under Boys, 16.63 (out a possible 20 points).

The North Coast natural-footer executed a barrage of backside snaps to post the scores and bypass the requalification rounds. O’Brien will make his next appearance in the third round tomorrow.

Hot on O’Brien’s heels was Grayson Hinrichs (Bondi, NSW) who posted a solid 15.60 heat total for an array of turns that were well beyond his years. He’ll join O’Brien in the third round tomorrow.

Fletcher Kelleher (Freshwater, NSW) was the standout performer in the 10-and-Under Boys posting a 13.7 heat total.

Kelleher was joined in the winner's circle by Landen Smales (Peregian, Qld) and local surfer Will Martin (Coffs Harbour, NSW) who both notched up heat totals in excess of 12.70 to cement their position straight into the third round.

The Billabong Oz Grom Cup presented by Flight Centre will commence each day at 7am with the call for the day's schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6:20 am.

The event hotline number is 0458 247 212 which will leave a voice recorded message each morning of the event.

The prestigious five-day event – now in its fourth year – will run from April 18-22 and is catering for over 200 competitors in nine different divisions.

Former champions include current world junior Champion Macy Callaghan who claimed her respective division in the event's inaugural year. S

ince then the event has been won by a range of Australia’s best and most promising junior surfers.

Most states are represented with surfers coming from Queensland, NSW and WA.

Boys and Girls divisions for the event include under-8 mixed, under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16.