SURF’S UP: Zak Condon of Lennox Head is keen to participate in the OZ Grom surfing contest for the third time.
SURF’S UP: Zak Condon of Lennox Head is keen to participate in the OZ Grom surfing contest for the third time. Marc Stapelberg

Groms go international

LENNOX Head surfer Zak Condon, 16, will be just one of the hundreds to take to the waves today for the 2014 Skullcandy Oz Grom open.

Since it started in 2012, the Lennox Head junior surfing comp has swelled rapidly in popularity, with 216 registered competitors this year across five divisions.

Contest director Tony O'Brien said it attracts some of the best junior surfers from around the world.

"We're now at the point where Surfing Australia uses this event as one of the key events to pick the amateur junior surfing team to contest the world titles," Mr O'Brien said.

"So in terms of a junior surfer's career, this event is the pinnacle."

He said some of the kids competing would be on the world tour within five years.

"Kids like Mitch Parkinson, Mikey Wright, Kai Hing, Soli Bailey, they're kids that are already making their mark on world surfing and they'll be here competing," he said.

"We have surfers come from all around the world; from Japan, Tahiti, Hawaii, Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand."

The panel is made up of five highly experienced judges.

"We've got a five-man judging panel which is exactly the same as the world tour," Mr O'Brien said.

"The judges are looking at people who preform manoeuvres in the most critical part of the wave.

"They're looking for guys that can link turns with speed, power and flow. They're looking for innovation as well, so kids that do aerials and things like that."

The competition kicks off today and will continue until Wednesday.

Between 300 and 500 spectators are expected each day.

"We're probably going to have 1m waves over the whole event and nice weather so I'd just encourage people to come down and see some exciting surfing and grab a bite to eat."

World champion surfer Mick Fanning is expected to appear on Sunday.



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