Grom vet's big chance
IT'S almost incomprehensible to think that at the age of 15, Lennox Head's Niki Hoskin is one of the veterans of the Rusty Gromfest surfing competition.
The Emmanuel College student is entering his fifth year in the contest and is one of the main local hopes in a field that includes a strong international contingent of surfers.
Niki, who came fourth in the under-16 final of Rusty Gromfest two years ago, is hoping that surfing on his home break at Lennox Head will give him the edge over his fellow competitors.
“I'm just going to try my best and see how I go,” the humble home-town surfer said.
“Hopefully, we'll be surfing Lennox beachies and I get to surf that every day.
“I'm there all the time on the weekends, and mornings and afternoons before school and usually after school.”
Niki's best results include winning last year's Billabong Occy's Grom Comp under-14 title and in May this year he won the regional under-14 title over three rounds at Cabarita, Lennox Head and Byron Bay.
But he described the Rusty Gromfest as one of the hardest events to win in Australia.
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“It would be good head-start with my surfing career; it's just got so much prestige.
“There are world champions that have won it.
“I'm definitely hoping for that (victory) but I am just going to take it heat by heat.”
Niki said that he was just trying to cram as much practice in before the big event begins on Friday.
“I'm mainly trying to surf the break as much as I can to get to know it a bit better,” he said.
“I try not to get nervous; I really think the first heat is always the hardest, that is when I get the most nervous.”
Rusty Gromfest contest director Max Perrot will preside over a field of well over 300 competitors and said the event was nearly fully subscribed.
“We've only got about eight spots left in the whole competition,” Perrot said.
“Everything is running smoothly at this stage and we've got a big influx of surfers from overseas this year.”