Do your bit for the coast this weekend

Hundreds of volunteers regularly dedicate their time and energy into helping protect, preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road’s flora and fauna every month, including members from the Surfrider Foundation.

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Gromsearch reveals local surfing skills

Many locals may have attended the first Ripcurl Gromsearch series event in Jan Juc several weekends ago.

Billy Harrison of Barwon Heads will be one of many local finalists competing in the Rip Curl Gromsearch National Final after placing second in the first series event, held 20-21 September in Jan Juc.

Harrison was leading in the final heat of the day after catching a wave in the final 5 minutes, however Reef Hazelwood (Moffat Beach/QLD) took off on the inside right, executing a series of strong turns to take the lead in the final minutes.

Harrison fell painfully short with a heat total of 13.24 against Hazelwood’s 13.30 total, however both competitors will go head to head in North Narrabeen, NSW in January.

Hazlewood was not confident he had done enough to move into first place.

“I didn’t think I had the score, but the judges must have seen it differently,” he said.

“I’m stoked with the win, it was a really hard final with Billy getting that wave in the final 3 minutes.”

Rip Curl Gromsearch finalists will proceed to the National Finals held in North Narrabeen January 12-14, 2015.
Rip Curl Gromsearch finalists will proceed to the National Finals held in North Narrabeen January 12-14, 2015.

In the first male 14 and under heat of the day, Harrison also placed second to Caleb Tancred (Avoca/NSW), who dominated the heat final with a total of 15.50

Tully Wylie (9.53 points, Jan Juc/VIC) & Tane Bowden (8.90 points, Jan Juc/VIC) could not find the waves needed and placed in third and fourth respectively.

Interstate competitors dominated the female heats, with Kirra-Belle Olsson (Copacabana/NSW) claiming her second title at the Jan Juc event.

Ecstatic with the win, Olsson was just happy to make the final in the older age division.

“I’m so happy. Just to be through to the finals in the 16 & Under Division is an awesome achievement for me.”

“I was trying to just be confident in the water and not let any of the other girls hassle me in the water.”

Only catching 4 waves in the final, Olsson put the rest of the surfers in a combination situation with a 15.83 total heat score on her first two waves.

Alyssa Lock (Tweed Heads/NSW) was the next placed surfer finishing with 8.66 points.

Kobie Enright (7.67 points, Tweed Heads/NSW) and Lucy Callister (5.17 points, Palm Beach/QLD) finished in third and fourth respectively.

Tancred was awarded with the best overall performance of the event, claiming a brand new FireWire surfboard.

The “Surfing Life Rising Star” award went to Billy Harrison and Kirra-Belle Olsson for their epic performances across multiple age divisions. Both received subscriptions to Surfing Life magazine.

Working in conjunction with Surfing Australia, the Rip Curl GromSearch includes boys’ and girls’ divisions in 16 and under, 14 and under, and 12 and under. The series includes a National Ratings system, which will be used to qualify surfers for the National Final at North Narrabeen.

Check out the video below to see the sufers in action:

Current ASP World Tour surfers who have competed in the Rip Curl GromSearch finals include:

– Male: Gabriel Medina (Brazil), Kolohe Andino (USA), Felipe Toledo (Brazil), Owen Wright (Australia), Jordy Smith (South Africa), Matt Wilkinson (Australia).
– Female: Tyler Wright (Australia), Stephanie Gilmore (Australia). Malia Manuel (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia), Laura Enever (Australia), Alana Blanchard (Hawaii).

Full Results from the event can be found here.

Did you know any of the competing grommets? How did they go?

What’s not to love about the coast in winter?

Ahhh! The coast in winter. Many of us who live and work here believe it sparkles even more brightly during the colder months than it does in the harsh sunlight of summer. While we are the lucky ones who love the coast all year round, winter is perhaps the time of year when we love it the most.

As the temperature drops and the hordes depart after the Easter break, we love the way that life on the coast settles into a quieter and more relaxed pace that is very easy to take. We’re sure our native animal and plant life appreciate having less people around to contend with too!

We love the feel of the crisp sea air on our faces and the way it can turn our noses and cheeks into a glamorous shade of red as we take in an ever changing seascape. There’s nothing like rugging up and walking along a virtually deserted beach watching the colours of the sea and sky change depending on the time of day and weather conditions. No day is ever the same but every day is beautiful.

Winter is also the time when the whales come through on their annual pilgrimage to their winter breeding grounds. Whale sightings are common right along the coast at this time of year and have already been reported at various spots, including Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne. It’s impossible to be blasé about catching a sight of these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. We love that too.

And for those of us who surf, we love the winter swells. Non-surfers may find this hard to believe but winter is the best time of year to surf. The waves are less crowded while swell conditions are generally more consistently surfable, whether it’s two foot or six foot plus. Wind conditions often tend to be more surf-friendly too although there’s no accounting for the whims of Mother Nature at any time of the year.

These are just some of the jewels we cherish from our coast’s treasure chest of winter delights. Why not share what you love about the coast in winter by posting a comment on this blog?