1998 Gromfest winner Bede Durbidge in action in the WCT event at the Reunion Island at the weekend.  Picture: ASP/Tostee.
1998 Gromfest winner Bede Durbidge in action in the WCT event at the Reunion Island at the weekend. Picture: ASP/Tostee.

Gromfest?s launch-pad for surfing?s elite

By STEVE SPINKS

IF anyone had a doubt as to the quality of the surfing on offer at the annual Rusty Gromfest at Lennox Head every year they need only look at the latest World Championship Tour contest at St Leu, Reunion Island.

Yesterday, two former Gromfest winners, Mick Fanning and Bede Durbidge, went head-to-head in a classic match-up in round three.

Fanning prevailed, but what a coup for local Gromfest organisers.

Only four days before the start of the 10th Rusty Gromfest, and former winners are strutting their stuff on the international stage.

Fanning won the 1997 Under-16 boys division, while Durbidge won the 1998 Under-16s.

But it doesn't end there.

The top women's ranks in world surfing also boast former Gromfest winners.

Stephanie Gilmore, the 2003 Under-16 girls champion, won the first WCT women's event as a wildcard entrant in March on the Gold Coast.

This month, Chelsea Georgeson, the 1999 Under-16 runner-up, won her second WCT event in France.

But there are plenty more.

Past winners and finalists include Ben Dunn, James Wood, Nicola Atherton, Adam Melling, Rebecca Woods, Luke Munro, Rye Craike, Laurina McGrath, Stacey Holt and Jock Barnes, all of whom have either gone on to the WCT, World Qualifying Series or the Pro-Junior circuit.

n The 10th annual Rusty Gromfest begins on Friday and runs through to Monday.

The Northern Star will run heat draws on Friday and Saturday.

You could also win a custom made Rusty surfboard by filling in the coupons that appear in The Northern Star.



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