Grommets. The loveable larrikins who are the scourge of our shorelines, and the torchbearers of the Australian surfing tradition. Horrible, snot-nosed little scamps who throw eggs at your car, drop-in on your Nan and make out with your daughter in the surfclub toilet blocks – but we wouldn’t have them any other way. Who else keeps the coastal take-away shops in business, the out-of-towners in check with their relentless cheek, and, most importantly, the older surfers on their toes, engaged in an unwinnable oceanic arms race? It’s the sunburnt grommet of Australia, that’s who, with his Pink Zinc nose, his face full of Chiko Roll and his wetsuit on from sun-up to sun-down, the grommet who still lives large within every committed surfer on this wave-rich island-continent of ours.
Surfing Life is grommet to its core, and that’s why, since 1997, we’ve deemed it worthy to compile a compendium of the hottest junior talent in the country. This year we’ve listed the guys and girls (although we’ve taken a slightly different approach to the rankings) as fairly as a subjective list like this allows. We profile the best of the boys – Creed McTaggart, Noa Deane, Matt Banting – and make special mention of the female juniors who are taking on the WCT in 2014.
We also took four top-10-performing Aussie juniors – Soli Bailey, Eli Steels, Luke Hynd and Cooper Chapman – out to Sumatra on a two-week-long barrel, air and turn fest, along with international juniors, Hawaii’s Kalani David, and all-American Taylor Clark. We got waves, we got the clips that make up the Hot 100 cover mount DVD, we got sick and we got to know the kids. It was one helluva time, and we couldn’t have done it without such a great gang of up-and-coming world beaters. Check out the talent, it’ll surprise you.
We also go to the World Juniors, in Brazil, to Mundaka and pay tribute to Buttons, Hawaii’s eternal grommet. We follow one Aussie guy as he delivers 140 surfboards to the wilds of Papua New Guinea, we objectify Ellie-Jean Coffey, our Instagram dream-date, and Adrian Buchan kicks off his monthly column with some sage advice to all junior surfers who dream of taking it all the way to the seniors.
Surfing Life is all about paying tribute to the young men and women who we’ve got our eyes on now, and who we’ll be watching well into the future. It’s about letting that little grommet that lives inside of all of us run wild for a little while. Enjoy.