The fifth day of the 2019 Skullcandy Oz Grom Open presented by Vissla saw another mammoth day of competition as competitors in Pro Junior and age divisions tackled solid four-to-six foot waves.
Local grommet surfer Jai Glinderman got the local spectators cheering from the hill as he nailed a near-perfect 9.67 wave score. The 15-year-old natural-footer annihilated a variety of critical sections to notch up the aforementioned score and finish the heat just behind event standout Kai Tandler who snuck in front of Glinderman by a tiny 0.59 margin.
"That feels so good," said Glinderman. "Brodi (Sale) actually let me go that wave which was surprising, but it definitely helps with my confidence. I don't actually surf out here very often, but to have everyone here supporting definitely makes it feel so much sweeter."
Continuing on from his excellent momentum yesterday, Tane Bowden proceeded to use his solid frame to positive effect as he decimated the chunky surf on offer. Bowden shone in the stacked quarterfinal that included current WSL Junior rankings leader Dakoda Walters (Angourie, NSW), Joel Vaughan and Martim Paulino. With all surfers having excellent wave scores (eight and above) in their scorelines, Bowden opted to find a long winding right that went wide of his fellow competitors. The move paid dividends with him being rewarded with a giant 8.77 wave score that gave him a narrow edge over Paulino who finished in the runner-up spot and as a result eliminated Walters from the event.
"The waves just turned on in our heat and everyone had nines and eights," said Bowden. "It's always nice to come up against big names like that heat and come away with a win. My whole goal is to get into the top three and make the World Juniors, but I'll worry more about that later, I just want to win this event first."
Alister Reginato showed why he was currently second on the Australia / Oceania Junior rankings, posting a massive 17.24 heat total. Reginato executed an array of giant turns in the heat to post the aforementioned score and cement his spot into the semi-finals where he'll meet Thomas Carvalho, Taj Stokes and Caleb Tancred.
"It was unreal to get some good solid surf for a Pro Junior," said Reginato. "I think conditions like this are where all the competitors begin to blossom. I knew I'd have to get an early start in the heat and post something decent as you could potentially get caught off-guard by the bigger sets. Hopefully, the swell hangs around for tomorrow."
Current Australia / Oceania Junior rankings leader Molly Picklum took one step closer to the 2019 Junior Title, nailing a victory in the semi-finals. Picklum posted a giant 17.33 two-wave heat total in the battle, to get the edge over her competitors and cement her spot into tomorrow's final.
"Every heat I win feels awesome and takes off some pressure," said Picklum. "All the heats are really difficult, but I think everyone's confidence begins to build as you keep moving through the event. It will be nice to post similar scores in the final tomorrow."
Local Nyxie Ryan showed she was keen to notch up her second Pro Junior Title in as many years, claiming the opposing Girls semi-final. Ryan found a handful of diamonds in the shifty lineup to finish with a respectable 14.83 two-wave total and move one step closer to collecting her second Skullcandy Pro Junior victory.
"It is such a good feeling to have everyone down here supporting," said Ryan. "I think the whole surfing community is here barracking for the locals and it really amps you up."
Ellie Harrison and Lilliana Bowrey made their mark on the Under-14 Girls division, both posting near-perfect 9.00 wave scores for giant turns on huge six-foot waves. Meanwhile, Mannix Greentree-Squires, Harry O'Brien and Kia Martin all turned heads in the Under-14 Boys, claiming quarterfinal victories and earning themselves spots into the semi-finals tomorrow.