Droomer triumphs in junior surf championships

November 11, 2021 BY

Willis Droomer - seen here in flight earlier this year - won the 16 and Under division in the Australian Junior Online Surf Championships. Photo: WILLIS DROOMER/MITCH POPE

GOOD surfing and good footage has seen Jan Juc surfer Willis Droomer win his division in this year’s YETI Australian Junior Online Surf Championships.

Droomer finished on top of the Under 16 Men’s division in the championships, which were held in two rounds across six weeks.

The invitation-only event, which concluded last month, saw more than 180 of Australia’s top juniors go head to head, with the event earning competitors valuable rankings points towards the 2021 Surfing Australia national junior rankings, which end on December 31.

Competitors uploaded footage of their best two waves (one right and one left) for the judges to evaluate.

“You’ve just got to try to surf your best, and hope that whoever’s filming you points the camera in the right direction,” Droomer said.

“Most of the time I was at Jan Juc, because the waves weren’t amazing the whole time (during the six weeks).

“I was a bit more strategic – last year when I did it, I was surfing every day trying to get clips, but this year I was trying to time it more with waves that had potential for getting a good score.

“If it was real small, I’d probably save it for a different day for when it was a bit bigger and then hopefully I would try get a good wave on those days; I was looking for anything overhead.”

The three judges – Olympic Games head judge Glenn Elliott, WSL Oceania/Asia head judge Tye Conaghan and Olympic judge and dual women’s world longboard champion Tory Gilkerson – focused on progression and innovation, power, and precision as the key elements of each wave.

Droomer said competitors had a six-hour window to submit their clips to the Surfing Australia website, so everyone could see everyone else’s waves.

“In the first round you had to get in the top 15 out of 30, and I ended up coming second.

“In both rounds I thought I wasn’t going to do as well but in the end I ended up getting scores than everyone else – in comparison, I thought my waves weren’t as high quality, but I was happy that it ended up going in my direction.”

He said he didn’t mind being part of a surfing competition with nobody else around, as it meant he could take his time and go for the best possible wave.

“There’s no time limits, there’s not so many people watching so there’s less pressure, a huge timeframe to do it, and many different options of where you can surf, so I actually like the idea.

“But I also like being in the water at a normal surf comp.”

To see some of Droomer’s winning waves, head to his Instagram page at @willisdroomer.

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