Hot fave grommet

THE Wright clan has the Rusty Gromfest permanently etched on calendars in their NSW South Coast Culburra Beach home for good reason.

The only etchings matching it are in the trophy cabinet of the Lennox Head surf fest, which this year has international competitors from Chile, Peru, the UK, South Africa, Tahiti and New Zealand.

The 13th annual Gromfest kicks off this morning with 330 competitors aged eight to 16 - and there's little doubt the Wrights are after another engraving in the trophy cabinet after the finals on Monday.

In fact it could easily be a double etching for Australia's latest female surfing sensation, Tyler Wright, and her younger brother, Michael.

The Gromfest has been a successful hunting ground for siblings of the Wright family - all four of them - for the past six years.

Elder brother Owen won four successive Gromfest titles in the boys 12 and 14 years ranks, without contesting the boys 16 years title, while sister Kirby won the coveted 16 years girls title last year before embarking on the world pro junior series.

Michael is back to try to make amends for his second place in the 12 years boys final last year, fresh from his win in the Billabong Occy's Grom Comp at Duranbah on the NSW-Queensland border last week.

But it is Tyler who is shaping up as the hottest favourite the Lennox Head Gromfest has seen.

Before Michael notched his victory last week, Tyler had already trumped a field of Australia's finest female junior surfers to clinch a record fourth Occy's Grom Comp title in the blue ribbon 16 years and under girls final against testing odds.

It was a fitting result for the 14-year-old, whose three previous titles had all been 14 years and under victories against older surfers. But that's nothing new for the youngster who has been stamped the 'next big thing' in Australian female surfing.

It capped an amazing couple of months for the natural footer, who claimed her maiden ASP Pro Junior victory in the Sunsmart Pro at Trigg Beach in Western Australia in May, beating defending ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series champion Airni Mason. Then it was off to France, where she was runner-up in the Under 18 world surfing titles, beaten in the final by just 0.2 of a point, the equivalent of half a wave turn.

Now back to contest her sixth Rusty Gromfest, she's resisted the temptation to match Kirby's efforts last year, content to add a second 14 years girls title to her three 12 years girls trophies.

But Lennox Head's Stephanie Single is hopeful her home break knowledge will stop the 14 years girls title from being one-way traffic.

She has been listed as a likely local contender to show up in Gromfest after recent success in Queensland.

Other locals to watch include Tom Gordon (14 years boys), Zac Wightman and Jackson Cochrane (12 years boys), Shannon Mackie and Niki Hoskin (16 years boys) and Lyla Wright (16 years girls).



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