Late January, the top 54 junior surfers in NSW were flown to Melbourne’s URBNSURF wave park for a unique and specialised experience. The Surfing NSW Junior High-Performance team for 2022 includes future world and Olympic champions from the far north coast to the south coast of NSW.
The NSW Junior High-Performance team was selected based on their results at the State Junior Titles (U18, U16, and U14, top eight male and top six female), while the U12s qualified through the Woolworths Surfer Grom Comp series points leader board system, using the two highest results combined (top seven male and top five female).
For many of the surfers, particularly those from regional areas, the day provided bonus motivation and progression with access to Australia’s first wave pool. The wave pool experience meant the surfers could refine their skills in controlled conditions and learn through a shared experience.
“It’s great to be able to get the kids all surfing together in a non-competitive environment,” said Surfing NSW Talent Pathway Coordinator Biba Turnbull. “As an individual sport, it’s not often these kids get the chance to come together like this and work off each other to develop their surfing.”
Each of the surfers’ coaches was also invited to come along to build the community of coaches within NSW.
Turnbull says the junior surfers were already showing great promise as leaders and athletes and was pleased to watch them interact so positively throughout the day.
“Many of these young surfers have already experienced success, winning local, state, and in some cases national and international events, while others have just begun showing serious talent,” she said.
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Some of Australia’s most successful surfers have come through Surfing NSW events and junior development pathways including NSW Institute of Sport-supported athlete, Olympic Gold Medallist Owen Wright and sister, World Surfing Champion Tyler Wright.
Surfing NSW CEO Luke Madden says that the Junior High-Performance Program provides support and specialist opportunities for the next generation of professional surfers.
“We’re so lucky to have so much talent in NSW junior surfing. Our aim is to provide them with world-class training, facilities and support so they can be the best community members and athletes they can be,” said Madden.
“We’re confident this group will represent their state with pride and that they will have great success throughout the year. We can’t wait to watch them grow and progress.”
The interstate adventure included six hours of wave time with the state-of-the-art URBNSURF technology with varying conditions and levels of difficulty. Each member of the team had the opportunity to discuss their personalised strength & conditioning plan created for them through the Surfer Strength program, developed by Lean Performance. As well as being provided professional in-water videography, photography and their coaches were provided with videos to analyse with their athletes. The team was also presented with their NSW representative uniforms and a session with the Good Human Factory’s Cooper Chapman about resilience and mental health.
John “Shmoo” Shimooka and Biba Turnbull first brought the NSW Junior High-Performance Program to life in 2020 with the support of NSWIS and Surfing Australia. The program aims to provide the state’s top junior male and female (U18, U16, U14 & U12) surfers with the pathway and resources to reach their full potential as surfers and as people.
“Shmoo was so passionate about junior development and giving kids every opportunity possible to succeed and live their dream as professional surfers,” said Turnbull. “We’re proud to be able to take the team to the URBNSURF facility and continue to provide these kinds of exciting opportunities in his honour. We’re really stoked that his legacy continues to live through this program.”
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The 2021/22 program includes team training camps, digital team catch-ups, motivational speakers, wildcard event allocations, a specialised high-performance gym program with Lean Performance, and the coveted NSW team uniform.
Importantly, the program includes sessions on wellbeing and self-management to help assist young athletes to understand and navigating their path into elite and professional sport.
“We think it’s crucial to include these aspects in our program,” said Turnbull. “Everything from technical analysis, judging insights, performance, strength & conditioning, and competition strategy. We also help provide the tools to help balance and manage the demands of being a student-athlete, travelling and training, mental health, and sports psychology.
“Committing to one sport and dreaming of international success can be a lot for these junior athletes. We want to give them the best tools to help them achieve greatness and make their journey as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. We want to see many more World and Olympic Champions coming out of NSW.”
The program is also supported by Mambo, Backroll, Musashi, Lean Performance and Ocean & Earth.
Visit surfingnsw.com.au for more.
Article and image courtesy of Surfing NSW