Top Juniors Attack Solid Gunnamatta Waves To Bring The Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles To An Exciting Conclusion

Published on 26/03/2023

The top juniors attacked solid Gunnamatta in the final round of the Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles that saw state champions crowned across all divisions.

Making for an exciting but nerve-racking start to Day 2, the swell had filled in even more overnight with a pulse of 4 – 6 foot waves rolling onto the bank at Gunnamatta for Finals day of Round 3 of the Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles. In the morning the competitors made the most of the gentle offshore wind that blew through the lineup offering large walls and chunky end sections.

In the Under 16 Girls semifinals Ava Holland (Dromana) and Sara Hickson (Rye) started out firing, using their home break knowledge to pick out the best wave in each of their semifinal heats. Holland scored the highest wave of the day, a 9.67 point ride, with a series of vertical backhand snaps. Meanwhile, Hickson used her critical forehand attack to scoop up a 9 point ride of her own. 

In the final, Hickson continued her raid on the lip by hammering three powerful snaps to start with a huge score, a 9.17 point ride. Seconds after Hickson’s first wave Holland received an enormous set wave to the head, snapping her board before she even had a chance to catch a wave. 

After swimming in to collect her backup board Holland was fired up to get back into the heat and paddled straight to the top of the peak ready to throw everything at the next wave. Within 5 minutes she was on a substantial set wave and squared up for a gigantic backhand re-entry before cascading down the face of the wave while trying to hold onto the landing. Unfortunately, she didn’t successfully complete the maneuver and only scored a minor 2 points for her efforts. 

This gave Hickson the opportunity to take out the win as Holland was left chasing a score to get into first place. Not only did Hickson take out Round 3 of the series but this win gave her the title of State Champion, breaking the tie against Holland.

“I just knew I had to head out the back and find a couple of good waves to get the win,” said Sara Hickson.

“It felt really good to win the State Title,” she continued. 

On the other side of the draw in the Under 16 Boys, Rye Cicero (Sandy Point) was able to take the win and in doing so stop the winning streak of Jerry Kelly who had already secured the State Championship by claiming the first two rounds of the series. Cicero, who showed that he wasn’t going to hold back on any section, started off strong out the back by hammering a range of turns all the way to shore. 

This put him in rhythm as he went back out to pick up another wave that winded back and forth on the bank with Cicero putting together a strong carve and solid backhand snap to finish the wave off. He went straight back out again and picked off another wave allowing for another series of solid maneuvers to earn a combined heat total of 15.33 points (out of a possible 20 points). 

“It was a good final, I managed to find a few waves which were enjoyable to surf on,” Rye Cicero said. 

“I picked up a bit of a rhythm in this round which made the final really fun to surf,” he concluded.

The Under 18 boys finished off the day in explosive form with Lucas Hickson (Rye) picking up where he left off from Day 1 by posting a 9.33 point ride for a huge lip line floater to airdrop. He then went on to back up this wave with an 8.60 point ride combining this with his first score to amass a 17.93 point heat total and a convincing win whilst putting the rest of the field in a combination situation.  

Round 3 Finals Results:

U18 Girls
1st – Sarsha Pancic (Blairgowrie), 14.73
2nd – Mia Holland (Dromana), 9.54
3rd – Sarah Seuren (Inverloch). 8.24
4th – Juliet Muscroft (Jan Juc), 1.90

U18 Boys
1st – Lucas Hickson (Rye), 17.93
2nd – Isaiah Norling (Barwon Heads), 13.70
3rd – Willem Watson (McCrae), 13.50
4th – Willis Droomer (Jan Juc), 12.97

U16 Girls
1st – Sara Hickson (Rye), 13.10
2nd – Ava Holland (Dromana), 10.37
3rd – Dune Pruvot (Torquay), 6.57
4th – Billie Cook (Ocean Grove), 5.36

U16 Boys
1st – Rye Cicero (Sandy Point), 15.33
2nd – Remy Filer (Jan Juc), 10.16
3rd – Oscar Kerr (Ocean Grove), 8.37
4th – Jerry Kelly (Barwon Heads), 7.73

U14 Girls 
1st – Rose Holland (Dromana), 14.87
2nd – Scarlett Rennie (Cape Woolamai), 7.53
3rd – Evie Lutz (Cowes), 6.67
4th – Chloe Muscroft (Jan Juc), 6.07

U14 Boys
1st – Dusty Rayner (Inverloch), 14.84
2nd – Harlem Pec (Jan Juc), 14.40
3rd – Arch Rayner (Inverloch), 8.83
4th – Sunny Wouters (Victoria), 7.13

Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles Overall Results:

U18 Girls
1st – Sarsha Pancic (Blairgowrie)
2nd – Eva Bassed (Sandy Point)

U18 Boys
1st – Willem Watson (McCrae)
2nd – Lucas Hickson (Rye)

U16 Girls 
1st – Sara Hickson (Rye)
2nd – Ava Holland (Dromana)

U16 Boys
1st – Jerry Kelly (Barwon Heads)
2nd – Rye Cicero (Sandy Point)

U14 Girls 
1st – Rose Holland (Dromana)
2nd – Scarlett Rennie (Cape Woolamai)

U14 Boys
1st – Arch Rayner (Inverloch)
2nd – Kai Coleman (Mount Duneed)

Full results and scores can be accessed via

2023 Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles

Round 1 (Complete)
Phillip Island
February 4 and 5, 2023

Round 2 (Complete)
Bells Beach
February 18 and 19, 2023

Round 3 (Complete)
Mornington Peninsula
March 25 and 26, 2023

Under 18 Girls
Under 18 Boys
Under 16 Girls
Under 16 Boys
Under 14 Girls
Under 14 Boys

The Woolworths Victorian Junior Surfing Titles is supported by QUIT Victoria, VicRoads Community Safety Grants, Cancer Council Sunscreen and Surfing Victoria.

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