Jerry Kelly And Sara Hickson Take Out The Premiere Divisions In Round 2 Of The Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles 

Published on 21/04/2024

In a thrilling climax to Round 2 of the Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles, Jerry Kelly (Barwon Heads) and Sara Hickson (Rye) took out the premiere divisions putting themselves one step closer to making the state team.

With the dawn of finals day, a sense of anticipation and excitement buzzed around the remaining competitors as the surf came pulsing into Gunnamatta Beach. Overnight the swell had dropped off, leaving extremely rippable right and left-hand rip bowl waves for the groms to dig into.

Carrying their momentum forward from yesterday were Ava Holland (Dromana) and Sara Hickson (Rye), who both started the Under 18 Girls Final off with high scores. Hickson began by smashing multiple sections all the way to the inside, scoring a 7.17 point ride. Holland then elevated the final to another level, taking off on a bomb and delivering two big backhand snaps, timing each one perfectly. This gave her a 9.60 point ride and the early advantage.

Staying busy, Hickson went from strength to strength, finding another wave shortly after seeing her opponent lock in the highest score of the event. She started by unleashing a huge forehand gouge before transitioning into a vertical hit and finishing strongly. This switched the advantage to Hickson as she received an 8 point ride for this wave and took the lead going into the midway point of the heat. The early flurry of the ocean then stopped as the waves slowed down, giving Hickson the win over Holland.

Coming in third was Juliet Muscroft (Jan Juc) with Sophie Wilkinson (Shoreham) placing fourth.

The Under 18 Boys final exploded into action right from the start, setting the stage for an exhilarating showdown. As the hooter sounded Jerry Kelly wasted no time in showcasing his powerful approach to the waves. Positioned perfectly on a left-hand bank down the beach, he seized the opportunity presented by a large set wave. With unwavering confidence, he launched himself into the wave’s face, attacking each section with fearless precision. Kelly smoothly transitioned from one manoeuvre to the next, finishing with a hammer of a turn. The judges, impressed by his bold performance, awarded him an excellent 8.67, enabling him to establish a commanding lead early in the final.

Still feeling the rush of adrenaline from his initial wave, Kelly wasted no time in seeking out another chance to showcase everything he had on offer. Paddling back out to the same bank, his focus remained on the horizon for the next wave. He then found a wave with a huge end section and Kelly once again displayed his fearless approach to everything he hit. With confidence, he executed a vertical manoeuvre in the most critical section of the wave to secure a solid 7 point ride. Meanwhile, Max Basset (Barwon Heads), sensing the urgency to make a comeback, unleashed a flurry of impressive backhand snaps, earning a commendable 7.50. However, despite his valiant effort, Basset’s late surge proved insufficient as the final moments ticked away, leaving Kelly to claim victory. 

“My plan was to get the best first wave and land all my turns,” said Kelly.

“All the boys were ripping all weekend and it was good to get away with the win,” he added.

Basset came second with Sam Patterson (Inverloch) and Jarrah Cicero (Sandy Point) placing third and fourth.

Moving into the back half of the day, the Under 14 girls continued to display their remarkable skills, fearlessly tackling the challenging Gunnamatta rip bowls. Despite the wild nature of the ocean, the young surfers persisted, giving their all in the face of the relentless waves. Rose Holland (Dromana) and Scarlett Rennie (Cape Woolamai), having stood out in the earlier rounds, wasted no time in asserting their dominance once again. They adapted to navigate the shifting currents before each picked off some corner pockets. With a technical foam climb Holland was able to score a 3.83 and the lead off Rennie who scored a 3.57 for one quick cut back. 

Holland emerged as the standout performer after she maximised the advantage presented by a promising set. With a burst of speed and agility, Holland propelled herself into action, executing a series of tight backhand snaps. From a powerful backhand hit to a graceful carve and a slashing re-entry, she left spectators in awe. The judges, recognizing her ability to perform on waves of consequence well beyond her years, awarded her a 9.33 point ride, catapulting her into a comfortable lead that she maintained until the final buzzer sounded. 

“It feels good to take it out ’cause I surfed well throughout the day,”  said Holland.

“It was so fun surfing with all the girls out there as well,” she continued.

“The waves were fun when you got them but it was very tricky to find where to sit.”

Rennie came in second with Sophie Day (Rye) and Estella Carbonelli (Jan Juc) placing third and fourth.

The final stop of the Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles series will head to Phillip Island on the 4th and 5th of May with it being the competitors’ last opportunity to earn points to make the state team.

Finals Results:

U18 Girls
1st – Sara Hickson (Rye), 15.17
2nd – Ava Holland  (Dromana), 13.03
3rd – Juliet Muscroft  (Jan Juc), 6.67
4th – Sophie Wilkinson (Shoreham), 6.47

U18 Boys
1st – Jerry Kelly (Barwon Heads), 15.67
2nd – Max Bassett (Barwon Heads), 12.50
3rd – Sam Patterson (Inverloch), 11.24
4th – Jarrah Cicero (Sandy Point), 5.40

U16 Girls
1st – Lillian Bassed (Sandy Point),  11.17
2nd – Chloe Muscroft (Jan Juc),  8.84
3rd – Tahli Browne (Mornington), 4.70
4th – Cedar Davie (Jan Juc), 1.93

U16 Boys
1st – Jarvis Barrow (Jan Juc), 12.34
2nd – Jack Lindsay (Jan Juc), 9.50
3rd – Dom Kellett (Jan Juc), 6.67
4th – Tanner Maddock (Jan Juc), 6.00

U14 Girls
1st – Rose Holland (Dromana), 13.16
2nd – Scarlett Rennie (Cape Woolamai), 5.30
3rd – Sophie Day (Rye), 2.70
4th –  Estella Carbonelli (Jan Juc), 2.53

U14 Boys
1st – Harlem Pec (Jan Juc), 10.40
2nd – Angus Kennedy (Cowes), 8.87
3rd – Liam Thomson (Torquay), 5.03
4th – Raff Morris (Sorrento), 3.43

Full scores and heat draws from the event can be accessed via

The Woolworths Victorian Junior Titles is supported by No TXT No Wrecks, VicRoads Community Safety Grants, Cancer Council Sunscreen and Surfing Victoria.

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