Sierra Kerr and Lennix Smith have taken out the 2022 Harvey Norman Tweed Coast Pro Junior event in fun, two foot-to-three foot waves at Cabarita Beach. The Pro Junior was the final day of what's been a massive week of professional surfing action at Cabarita Beach for the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) event.
After a Quarterfinal finish in the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro Qualifying Series 5000 event for the second year in a row, Sierra Kerr was primed to take out her maiden WSL event win when competition started at the Pro Junior. The 15-year-old prodigy has been turning heads for a few years now but has still been waiting for a result to match the hype, and today, only just down the road from where she was born, she achieved that goal with her trademark fins free and aerial surfing. Kerr was a standout over the weekend, consistently posting some of the highest heat totals in each round she surfed.
"I'm frothing right now," Kerr said. "I've been waiting to get a win for a while now and after back-to-back second place finishes in pro junior events, I guess third time's a charm. The QS event this week was really good for my confidence - I beat some of the older competitors that have a lot of experience so it gave me a lot of belief in what I could achieve here. I'd love to compete in the World Junior Championships so this win will hopefully go a long way to helping me get there. I'm just so happy right now I can't explain it."
In the Final, Kerr overcame 2022 form surfer Ellie Harrison, event standout Gia Lorentson and Mia Huppatz who impressively surfed all the way to the Final from the opening round.
Lennix Smith is forming quite a relationship with the waves at Cabarita, winning two-from-two pro junior events at the spot in less than 12 months. The Wollongong local returned to Cabrita for the Harvey Norman Tweed Coast Pro and looked like the one to beat from the outset. The exciting young natural footer saved his best till last, posting the equal highest single wave score of the entire event. Smith's 9.17 came from a long, perfect right hander that offered him multiple critical sections and was enough to seal the deal.
"When that last one came I knew it was going to be a solid score if I could keep it together," Smith said. "Once I got to the end of it I knew I had locked in a big score. I'm just stoked to come back and compete here. I love it here on the Tweed Coast, there are so many fun waves, the water is warm, and the beaches are beautiful. I just love coming back and maybe that's what I do well here."
In the Final, Smith overcame the son of ‘99 World Champion Mark Occhilupo, Jay Occhilupo, who secured his best result in second place with Sean Gunning and Logan Steinwede finishing in third and fourth respectively.