Rising stars turn up heat

THE hottest surfing groms from around Australia took to Macauleys Beach yesterday to begin what will be a massive week of surfing for Coffs Harbour.

Although facing a not-so-impressive swell and stifling heat for day one of competition, the National Junior Surfing Titles still managed to showcase why these under-16 and under-18 surfers are definitely ones to watch.

With six more days of competition to go, event spokesman Steve Robertson said competitors are still finding their feet. "It was a tough day out there today in terms of the swell and temperature but some of the groms really tore up and took advantage of what they had in front of them," Robertson said.

"We only managed to get through 24 of the day's 27 heats because of the temperature and I imagine those out on the water would've been really feeling it.

"As the week progresses the competitors will start to put their foot down and really make their mark."

Robertson was confident that conditions would also improve.

"There are definitely quality waves here and the word is that a southerly later in the week will create perfect surfing conditions for the finals," he said.

"We will move on to Park Beach to take advantage of the forecasted conditions towards the end of the week."

Three local surfers were amongst the stars on the first day of competition.

Ellie-Jean Coffey won her heat in the under-18 girls, her brother Jackson Coffey took out second place in his heat in the under-16 boys, while fellow Crescent Head local Dylon Hunt took out his under-18 boys' heat.

The strong start by all of the surfers out of Crescent Head has left Robertson confident they will be able to take on the favourites in their respective divisions.

"Ellie Jean (Coffey) is actually one of the favourites to take out the under 18 girls' event," he said.

"She surfed really well today and claimed a well-deserved win."

Dylon (Hunt) also performed well and was also a worthy winner."

Michael Wright, the younger brother of ASP world No.3 Owen Wright, was the real standout on the day and is sure to be a tough competitor for the entire week.

The competition will continue today from 7.30am off Macauley's Beach.

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