Suffolk Park surfer Nick Colbey is the winner of the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters qualifying event at Lennox Head.
Colbey surfed intelligently in a testing final by selecting the best-quality waves and surfing them to shore with flair and precision.
“It was really tough out there,” said a thrilled Colbey afterwards.
“It was difficult to judge which waves were going to link up to the inside bank and allow you a good score.”
Colbey, 18, surfed his best wave for well over 100m – a ride that took him out of sight of judges and spectators and required a sprint up Lennox Beach to return to the contest site.
Colbey is the North Coast’s current Regional Open Champion and says Red Bull Junior Surf Masters is the best event he has ever entered.
“The facilities are amazing, it’s affordable to enter and the prizemoney (for the final) is the biggest ever for an Australian junior event.
“I can’t wait to get to Sydney to mix it up with the other regional finalists.
“I’m at a stage in my life when I have to decide if I want to pursue a full time surfing career and success in Sydney could definitely help my chances.”
After an excellent start to proceedings, surf conditions were made challenging by onshore winds and a decreasing swell for the finals.
Two of the early standout surfers – Brent Savage and Damo Norman – were eliminated in the hotly contested field.
Kingscliff’s Brad King finished second, Coffs Harbour surfer Alex Maniatis third, and Kingscliff’s Kieran Lloyd took fourth place.
All four will represent the North Coast region when the Red Bull Junior Surf Masters concludes at Queenscliff (August 29-31).
They will face finalists from the other four qualifying events (20 surfers in total).
The top four finalists from the Trials will then face a field of the best 16 Pro Junior Surfers in Australia, chosen by the current ASP World Champion, Mick Fanning.
Head judge, Nick “Zippy” Pearson was impressed by the overall standard throughout the event.
“The North Coast has a strong reputation for producing talented surfers and judging by today’s efforts, there’s every sign that the trend will continue,” he said.
Pearson had particularly high praise for Brad King and Nick Colbey.
“Those guys are surfing up on the level you need to be at, in junior events and I think they could do well in Sydney at the Trials,” he said.
The last three qualifying events are taking place at Merewether, Avalon and Cronulla Beaches.
Applications are still open, just head to www.redbull.com.au, follow the links to Red Bull Junior Surf Masters, and download an application form. Applications cost $30, with all proceeds going to SNSW Surfing Development.
About Red Bull Junior Surf Masters:
Red Bull Junior Surf Masters is a first-time event being held in NSW giving young surfers an opportunity to go head-to-head with Australia’s best Pro Junior surfers.
The first prize is the biggest ever awarded for a junior surf event in Australia and is designed to help up-and-coming surfers launch their pro career into the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and beyond.