The World Surf League’s Australasia Tour Manager, Will Hayden-Smith, has visited Kiama with representatives from Surfing NSW as preparations for the 2016 World Juniors begin in earnest.
When The Bugle caught up with him, Will was just about to go and check out Bombo, Jones and Werri beaches. The plan is to run the competition at Bombo, with the others as back up if conditions dictate.
He says that although the compet-ition is being held at Kiama’s peak holiday period, its timing will ensure the focus of the surfing world is going to be on junior surfing.
“There are no other competitions on at that time, so we see it as an ideal way to promote the world’s up and coming riders.
“Household names such as Joel Parkinson and Sally Fitzgibbons have won this event in the past so whoever whins here in January is going to be a star of the future.”
The publicity for Kiama as the home of the Juniors for the next two years is beginning to hot up already. World Surf League’s website has tens of millions of visitors a month, and during its live broadcast of the recent US Open there was a five minute segment on the World Juniors coming to Kiama.
With the safety of the competitors being a high priority, the organisers are going to be employing a shark detection and deterrent service which operates through a buoy sending out sonar and taking high quality video. There will also be a jet ski patrolling behind the surfers.
The competition will be between 18 female and 36 male surfers, exactly the same size and format as championship tours.
“We design it like that so it is a good training ground for the elite tour,” says Will.
He is very keen to get local surfing and service organisations involved. “We want the community to be very proud of this event.”
The competition will be held from 4-13 January, with most competitors and organisers coming from Boxing Day on to acclimatise and try the surf.
The Australian qualifiers have already been chosen for the event, with no South Coast surfers amongst them.
“There are wildcard spots up for grabs and I am talking to Surfing NSW about perhaps having some trials for locals to give them a chance to get a spot,” says Will.