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Phillip Island Junior Pro capturing the hearts of the entire island

The Phillip Island Junior Pro is an exciting new addition to Victoria’s surfing calendar and Phillip Island locals were right in the thick of it.

Surfing a wave

The worldwide surfing image of Victoria has always been Bells Beach, however there’s plenty more exciting coastline for surfers across the state.

A tourism hotspot and home of the famous little penguins, Phillip Island is a surfer’s delight with beaches dotting the island, making it perfect for the sport with good swell all year round.

I won’t even mince my words here, it’s world class, absolutely world class, there’s so many different locations we can go to depending on the conditions.

Pete Murphy – Surfing Victoria’s Operations Manager

That’s why it provided the ideal location for Victoria’s latest elite surfing competition, the Phillip Island Junior Pro.

Supported by the Victorian Government through the Significant Sporting Events Program, the Pro was an exciting four-day competition featuring some of the country’s best junior surfers.

Utilising Woolamai, Smiths Beach and even two days of competition on the sands of the world-famous penguin parade, surfers got to experience all the Island has to offer with exciting surfing across boys and girls in 3 age groups.

As a 10,000-point marquee event on the Surfing Australia National calendar, the event is only one of 4 events of this caliber in Australia and provided surfers with valuable rankings points in their quest for a spot in the Irukandjis’ team heading to the World Junior Surfing Titles in Brazil.

Peter says the ranking points on offer made it an attractive option for surfers from interstate, bringing in visitors from across Australia to Phillip Island.

‘We did have quite a substantial field of interstate surfers… it’s quite important for the juniors trying to get into other international junior events,’ he said.

Peter Murphy from Surfing Victoria on assignment in Phillip Island

Alongside boosting local tourism and small businesses throughout the island over the four days, Surfing Victoria also had an exciting initiative to link in with local schools, by having students help out during the competition.

Nearby Newhaven College runs a high-performance surfing program for their students, benefiting from their proximity to the water and alongside kids from Phillip Island Boardriders Club and the Bass Coast Boardriders Club, they helped make the Pro a success.

‘We asked if any of the kids who are in these programs would be interested in coming along and volunteering their time and having a look at the other side of what happens at a surfing event,’ Peter explained.

‘We provide them with opportunities to sit in with the judges as a spotter, they’ll also get the opportunity to be a singlet marshal to see the administrative side of being at a surf event.’

Peter says the opportunities help teach the kids important new details about the sport and skills they can take with them well beyond their surfing careers.

‘We get them involved with setting up the event and maintaining the event site, looking after the sponsors and sponsor activations,’

‘They get to learn about what sort of questions are being asked, what the athletes need, what they need to know about the competition in general, they are really important voluntary spots.’

He says it even provides future career opportunities for young surfers wanting to remain in the sport.

‘It creates a pathway for those kids if they don’t make it in surfing, if the sport leaves them behind, they can still choose another path to be part of the sport.

‘We’ve had a number of success stories where the surfers have gone on to do other work for us.’

With the help of these volunteers, onlookers saw 6 worthy winners crowned champions of their respective age brackets, another step towards a pro surfing career.

The Phillip Island Junior Pro is one of more than 600 events that have received support through the Significant Sporting Events Program since 2014.

It will return to the Bass Coast in 2024.

Page last updated: 28 May 2024
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