JAN Juc’s Xavier Huxtable has been crowned as one of the best young surfers in the world, winning the male GromSearch International Final.
The event at New Zealand’s Manu Bay saw 16 of the world’s best junior surfers battling it out in solid and powerful four-to-six-foot conditions, posting 10-point rides and showing the world what the future of surfing looks like.
Huxtable (17.8) defeated fellow Australian Finn Hill (15.3) in the final, making him one of the first Victorian male surfers to triumph in an International Junior event.
“I feel so good right now. It means so much to me to win this event against such talented surfers from all over the world,” he said.
Huxtable took on highly talented American surfer Cole Houshmand in the semis, who is known for his progressive style in all types of waves, and in order to come out on top the Victorian had to post two massive scores.
But he was up to the task, and by the end of the heat he had the first and only 10-point ride, combined with a 9.25 – a near-perfect heat score of 19.25.
On the female side of the GromSearch International Final, Hawaii’s Keala Tomoda-Bannert similarly didn’t have an easy path to the title, matching up against Brazilian talent Anne Dos Santos in the semis and promising Australian surfer Kirra-Belle Olsson.
“That was such a crazy day,” said Keala Tomoda-Bannert. “The surf was pumping, and there was a really strong current that made the paddle-out exhausting. But I’m so happy to win and I feel amazing to know that I surfed through girls like Anne, Kirra (Belle) and Piper (Harrison). New Zealand has been an amazing experience, and I am going to be sad to leave!”