Claire Bierke and Luke O’Connell will represent Ulladulla at the world’s biggest junior surfing festival for grommets under 14.
The Hurley Barton Lynch Blast Off is running from September 26-29 at Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
More than 300 grommets will be participating in the event which is focused on fun and self improvement.
Thirteen-year-old Claire Bierke is the younger sister of big wave surfer Russell Bierke who took out the Red Bull Cape Fear event earlier this year.
“I prefer bigger waves too. I’d like to do what Russell does,” Claire said.
This will be her 10th Barton Lynch competition.
Luke is 14 and this will be his last Barton Lynch Blast Off.
“It’s such a good comp,” Luke said.
“They have heaps of other activities and talent stuff.
“There’s not too many comps down here for kids our age. most of them are in Sydney,” he said.
Both surfers get their boards from Bierke’s dad Kirk and have grown up in families full of surfers. They also both want to be professionals in the water one day but are happy for the moment, doing it for fun.
“None of my friends really surf so balancing surfing and hanging out with friends can be hard,” Claire said.
The young surfers both compete at Ulladulla Board Riders events however the Blast Off offers a unique experience.
Kids are eased into the competitive environment by emphasis being placed on coaching instead of winning and losing. Everyone surfs at least twice before elimination and they are given tips to help them progress to the next rounds.
Surfing superstars like Barton Lynch, Layne Beachley, Tom Carroll, Rabbit Batholomew, Terry Richardson, Damien Hardman, Ozzie Wright and Richie Lovett will be on hand to give tips and hang out with participants.
The event has supported some great causes in recent years including the Aboriginal Medical Centre, Surfrider Foundation, The Disabled Surfers Association of Australia, Palm Beach SLSC, Avalon SLSC, , Humpty Dumpty Foundation, the Cancer Council of NSW, SurfAid, and local schools such as Avalon Primary and Barrenjoey High.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.