Damo Norman, 15, of Cabarita is checking out the surf before Gromfest starts at Lennox Head.
Damo Norman, 15, of Cabarita is checking out the surf before Gromfest starts at Lennox Head. David Neilsen

Lennox abuzz for surfing contest

HOME is where Damo Norman fills in time between surf contests.

The 15-year-old Cabarita teen and his mum, Donna, attend about 15 events a year Australia-wide, with the Rusty Gromfest at Lennox Head one of the favourites.

“He's got some talent. He's sponsored by Rusty and this is the only thing he's wanted to do. He wants to become a pro-surfer,” Mrs Norman said.

“We are very lucky, we've only got the one son so we are able to do it.

“We love coming to Lennox. It is one of the better-run contests that we come to in the year, the town set-up is brilliant, you're close to everything, so it's a really good set-up for the kids.”

Rusty Gromfest is one of the most prestigious contests for young surfers - or grommets - in Australia, with a limit of 344 entrants and many hopefuls hanging out for late cancellations.

Accommodation is scarce, with many providers hanging up the 'no vacancy' sign.

Lennox Head Professionals licensee Trish Tancred said the agency's 60 holiday rentals were fully booked.

“Most of them book in advance and we have a lot of repeat bookings from previous years,” she said. “Gromfest seems to be on par with other years. My understanding is that Lennox Head is pretty much booked out.”

Lennox Head Newsagency store manager Lisa Greig said the town was buzzing.“There's a lot of people around and a good vibe in town, I just hope the weather will stay good,” she said.

“I didn't know how it would go this year with interest rates and petrol prices and everything, but this afternoon there's heaps of people and it's great.”

Police will step up their presence with extra units targeting anti-social behaviour and driving offences and monitoring alcohol-free zones.

Richmond Local Area Command crime prevention officer Senior Constable Michael Hogan said the measures were aimed at ensuring safety for all.

“We will be there, we will be enforcing the law,” he said.

The event runs from today until Sunday, with Monday as a back-up day, in case any events are delayed.



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