CAPE Paterson surfer Taj Sleeman has now won two of the three events in the Victorian Junior Series after claiming victory at Gunnamatta Ocean Beach at the weekend.
He won the opening event at Phillip Island a few weeks back and has his hands firmly wrapped around the Under 18 title with a round to go.
Round 2 was completed over two days of large and challenging conditions at, with travelling surfers dominating the podium positions.
Saturday saw swells of over 3m pounding the outside of the sandbank, forcing a delay in the start of the event before a reduction in wave heights and more favourable winds on Sunday provided an excellent platform for Victoria’s best juniors to do battle.
Taj’s two wave total of 12.23 was enough for the win. “I’d never won a State Series event, so to win back to back is pretty wild,” he said.
“I thought that having a goal of making the state team might have been unreachable, so to have locked in a spot already is a great feeling.”
Local surfer Jett Dickinson placed second with a 9.83 total, with Jayden Schram (Torquay, 8.10) and Kenta Fergusson (Jan Juc).
Other Bass Coast surfers figured prominently at the event.
The U/16 Girls final saw a head to head battle between 2016 Victorian U/16 Champion Bella Wilson (Jan Juc) and 2016 Australian U/14 Champion Sage Goldsbury (Phillip Island) with multiple lead changes in the 20 minute final.
Carrying the lead into the final minutes, Wilson’s final 6.73 ride (out of a possible 10) extended her hold on first position, finishing with a two wave total of 13.73 (out of a possible 20) which saw her edge out Goldsbury’s 13.00 points.
The U/16 Boys final was another high performance affair, with 2016 Australian U/16 Champion Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc) continuing his dominance taking first place with 15.33 points. Second was Phillip Island’s Codie Jeffery (11.93).
The U/14 Girls was dominated by Barwon Heads’ Ellie Harrison. Second through to fourth position was a tight tussle, with Jazz Wylie (Jan Juc) edging out Phillip Island’s Poppy Corbett.
The final round of the series will be held at Jan Juc on May 13 and 14. Entries are still open at www.surfingvic.com