The 2017 Surf Dive n Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles got off to a flying start in playful two-foot peaks with the Under-16 Boys and Girls getting their campaigns underway.

Joel Vaughan (Bateau Bay, NSW) and Arch Whiteman (Mona Vale, NSW) both engaged in one of the more exciting heats of the morning with both surfers managing to get the upper hand over perennial surf comp standout Jay Occhilupo (Elanora, Qld). Whiteman and Vaughan both traded off a variety of lefts and rights in the heat and as a result saw them finish in first and second respectively, while Occhilupo will have to redeem himself in the requalification rounds.

Cole Fox (Jan Juc, Vic) was the standout performer amongst the interstate surfers, with the whippy goofy-footer taking out his opening heat. Fox went toe-to-toe with fellow goofy Lennox Chell (Avoca, NSW) in the first round exchange which saw the Victorian finish with a 13.25 two-wave heat total (out of a possible 20 points) ahead of Chell who finished in second position.

Other Under-16 Boys round one heat winners included: Grayson Hinrichs (Bondi, NSW), Ethan Stocks (Coffs Harbour, NSW), Indi White (Jan Juc, Vic) and George Pittar (Manly, NSW).

Holly Williams (Buddina, Qld) made her intentions known in her opening heat, with the Sunshine Coast natural-footer posting an excellent 8.25 wave score to give her the edge against her fellow competitors. Williams backed up the excellent score with a respectable 6.35 wave score, to give her an accumulative heat total of 14.60 and allows her to cement a position into the quarterfinals.

Other Under-16 Girls round one heat winners included: Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head, NSW), Arabella Gibson (Margaret River, WA) and Emma Cattlin (Yallingup, WA),

The prime location for the event is Culburra Beach and Crookhaven Heads with back up locations of Seven Mile, Shoalhaven Heads, Tilbury Cove, Culburra Beach, Cudmirrah Beach, Sussex Inlet, Narrawallee Beach, North Mollymook Beach, South Mollymook Beach, Rennies Beach, Ulladulla and Racecourse.

All teams, families and coaches are advised to ring the event hotline (0458 247 212) by 6.45am on the days of competition to confirm location and running order.

With past winners including World Champions Steph Gilmore, Chelsea Hedges, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mark Richards, Tom Carroll and Damian Hardman, a win in this year’s event is a legitimate stepping stone to world stage glory.

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The 2017 Surf Dive n Ski Australian Junior Surfing Titles is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event will also be supported by City of Shoalhaven, Hydralyte Sports, Woolworths, Toyota,, School Sport Australia, Surfing NSW, Surfing Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.