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Ocean rides the wave of success

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Newcastle is home to a new national champion following Ocean Lancaster’s brilliant debut at the 2022 Woolworths Australian Junior Surfing Titles at the weekend.

A week after another local teen, Taylor Gill, captured his maiden Production Cup crown at the Australian Rally Championships, the Merewether young gun dominated his rivals to win the under-14 boys’ trophy at Cylinders Beach.

Lancaster, competing at his first national titles, secured the decider with a 15.90 best two-wave total.

After posting a 7.30 earlier in the finale, he snared a last-minute ride to take out the honours, netting the highest score of the day, an 8.60.

That elevated him to top spot ahead of Dee Why’s Ben Zanatta (15.25), Evans Head’s Max McGillivray (14.65) and Palm Beach’s Caden Francis (11.95).

“All the boys were dropping big numbers,” Lancaster said.

“So, I thought ‘alright this is my last chance’ and that first section I knew I had to do something big – I just went for it.

“I’ve been looking forward to this comp all year.

“It’s such a big comp, with everyone coming from all around Australia.

“Yeah, I’m frothing [after that performance].”

Sunshine Beach’s Eliza Richardson was the under-14 girls’ winner.

In fact, all six Australian champions hailed from NSW and Queensland.

Angourie’s Harley Walters claimed the under-18 men’s division with Tewantin’s Coco Cairns prevailing in the women’s section.

In the under-16s, Palm Beach’s Rico Haybittle and Newport’s Milla Brown excelled.

That quartet has now qualified for the 2023 Junior Irukandjis team to represent Australia at the 2023 ISA World Junior Championships.

“After a two-year break, junior surfing is back,” Surfing Australia contest director Glen Elliot said.

“This event had everything from challenging conditions through to finishing in highly-rippable shore breaks at Cylinder Beach with the grommets revelling throughout.

“The camaraderie and support shown by all the surfers for the full seven days shows that junior surfing in Australia is in a very good place.

“The winners of the national rankings and the winners of the Australian junior titles mean that the junior iIrukandjis will be our strongest team ever.”

2022 Woolworths Australian Junior Surfing Titles

U18 men

  • Harley Walters (Angourie, NSW) 15.75
  • Dane Henry (Fingal Head, NSW) 14.60
  • Harry O’Brien (Skennars Head, NSW) 9.50
  • Macklin Flynn (Cowaramup, WA) 8.35

U18 women

  • Coco Cairns (Tewantin, QLD) 15.00
  • Oceanna Rogers (Shell Cove, NSW) 12.40
  • Imojen Enfield (Port Macquaire, NSW) 8.90
  • Jahly Stokes (Buddina, QLD) 7.10

U16 men

  • Rico Haybittle (Palm Beach, QLD) 14.50
  • Kash Brown (Cronulla, NSW) 10.60
  • Darcy Dwyer (Cooroibah, QLD) 8.90
  • Fletcher Kelleher (Freshwater, NSW) 8.80

U16 women

  • Milla Brown (Newport, NSW) 14.75
  • Isla Huppatz (Burleigh Heads, QLD) 13.00
  • Ruby Trew (Curl Curl, NSW) 9.25
  • Ava Holland (Dromana, VIC) 8.55

U14 boys

  • Ocean Lancaster (Merewether, NSW) 15.90
  • Ben Zanatta (Dee Why, NSW) 15.25
  • Max Mcgillivray (Evans Head, NSW) 14.65
  • Caden Francis (Palm Beach, QLD) 11.95

U14 girls

  • Eliza Richardson (Sunshine Beach, QLD) 10.40
  • Savannah Rielly (Dicky Beach, QLD) 9.50
  • Rosie Richardson (Sunshine Beach, QLD) 7.50
  • Lucy Darragh (Gerringong, NSW) 3.85

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