Locals advance through prestigious international surf event

From the 26th of October to the 3rd of November, Raglan Surf academy students Jayden Willoughby, Caleb Cutmore, Brie Bennett, Tom Butland, and Jack Lee competed in a huge international event – the Vissla Junior Surfing Championship.

This competition was held at Huntington Beach, USA, and was a very challenging and rewarding event. It is aimed directly at youth, with ages ranging from 13 to 18 years. To enter, participants must commit to 5 months of dedicated training and practice. They are required to attend physical training throughout the majority of the year. As the competition loomed nearer, the students were pushed to their limits 10 weeks prior to the big competition, so that they were in peak physical shape. Coach Larry Fisher helped Raglan’s team to prepare and train, as well as accompanying them over the 8 days.

Each heat consists of four surfers, and finding waves did not always come easy for the surfers. “In some heats, it took awhile to get the best waves, but I made it so that’s the main thing.” says Jayden Willoughby after completing his final heat. As well as waiting for waves, one of the main challenges the students faced was nervousness, which negatively affected their performance. Some of the competitors were given another unexpected challenge, as the tide lowered and the currents advanced, and the waves were hard to find a turn in.

Raglan’s team consists of 5 students each year, and to get a place, the Junior Surf Academy students must try their hardest in the upcoming national summer competitions. Willoughby, Bennett, Butland, and Lee will all be eligible for the team in 2020. “The next steps for these students is to keep improving and entering national and international events to gauge their potential to make it as a professional surfer.” says Larry Fisher.

The Raglan competitors thoroughly enjoyed their experience this year, and some have already started training for next year’s competition.

Ayla Standley, Raglan Area School