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Far away from the distraction of the school holidays, the state’s most talented teenage ocean competitors were putting in the hard yards at the 2018 Junior Development Academy. Over three days the 44 kids gained an early insight into the life of an elite surf sport athlete.

The athletes aged between 12 and 14 from across NSW gathered at Sydney’s Academy of Sport on the Northern Beaches last week for a unique development program aimed at youngsters who have demonstrated an aptitude for any of the water disciplines contested at a surf sport event.

The genesis behind the program is to create an opportunity for the young competitors to be exposed to a high performance environment, learn new skills that they can adapt to their own training, and create a pathway into the state’s senior representative squads and beyond.

With many of those selected already enjoying success at the NSW Country and State Championships competition for spots was fiercely contested.

Throughout the three-day program (Wednesday 10 – Friday 12 October inclusive), the athletes participated in training sessions under the eagle eye of some of the best surf sports coaches going around, attended discussions on nutrition, had their skills and techniques analysed and were introduced to high performance and recovery techniques.

One of the positive aspects of surf sports is that is experienced former competitors are generous with their knowledge and the young participants certainly benefited from being able to talk to Michael Kember, Colin Marshall, and Michael Venis who have all represented their state and country.

Young guns Keeley Booth a current Australian Youth Life Saving Team member and Gabby Grieves also shared their knowledge of Pool Rescue, while Graham Lees OAM and Rhonda Lycett were instrumental in the success of the camp.

Additionally some of the lectures were delivered by guest speakers with their own background in competitive sport providing a raft of interesting experiences. Mark Webster from Winning Edge spoke about the importance of sport psychology on performance, while victorious NSW Interstate Captain Mitchell Trim reflected on his journey from the junior to the senior ranks.

The opportunities to gain new skills were certainly appreciated by the athletes.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to do a camp like this and been a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills,” said Taylah Moffitt from Kempsey- Crescent Head SLSC.

Surf Sport Development Officer Chiara Nowland was impressed by the talent on display from the youngsters.

“While it was disappointing not to be able to finish on a high with a carnival due to the weather conditions, it was fantastic to see the improvement in just a few short lessons.

“The sport scientists and coaches were absolutely fantastic and for the athletes to get that knowledge at such a young age will be extremely beneficial to them, and I look forward to seeing how they progress both this summer and beyond,” Ms Nowland concluded.

2018 NSW Junior Development Academy Participants

Far North Coast

  • Charlotte Shepherd - Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC

  • Noah Waldock - Ballina Lighthouse & Lismore SLSC

  • Elizabeth Warne - Cudgen Headland SLSC

  • Maalik Moston - Lennox Head SLSC

North Coast

  • Daniel Williams - Nambucca Heads SLSC

  • Patrick Carey - Sawtell SLSC

  • David Howard - Sawtell SLSC

  • Jenson O’Leary - Sawtell SLSC

  • Margaret McConnachie - Sawtell SLSC

Mid North Coast

  • Taylah Moffitt - Kempsey- Crescent Head SLSC

  • Andie Mcgrath - Port Macquarie SLSC

  • Auraiha Hewens - Tacking Point SLSC

Lower North Coast

  • Olivia Dew - Blackhead SLSC

  • Joel Fleming - Forster SLSC


  • Isabella Campbell - Cooks Hill SLSC

  • Tiana Sargeant - Cooks Hill SLSC

  • Charlie Burns - Cooks Hill SLSC

  • Charlie Walker - Cooks Hill SLSC

  • Sophie McGeachie - Swansea Belmont SLSC

Central Coast

  • Kai Hodson - Avoca Beach SLSC

  • Byron Benson - Avoca Beach SLSC

  • Emma Duggan - North Avoca SLSC

  • Sienna Scahill - Umina Beach SLSC

Sydney Northern Beaches

  • Bailey Clues -Newport SLSC

  • Kimberley Doyle - Newport SLSC

  • Dominique Melbourn - North Curl Curl SLSC

  • Sam Higgs - North Curl Curl SLSC

  • Olivia Clues - North Curl Curl SLSC


  • Mikayl Bird - Cronulla SLSC

  • Bella Summer - Elouera SLSC

  • Fred Carmody - North Bondi SLSC

  • Jaiden Marshall - South Maroubra SLSC

  • Fletcher Warn - Wanda SLSC


  • Brayden Woodford - Bulli SLSC

  • Imogen James - Bulli SLSC

  • Jazz Munro - Bulli SLSC

  • Sabina Rogers - Helensburgh-Stanwell Park SLSC

South Coast

  • Brock Neall - Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC

  • Kynan Burke - Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC

  • Montana Doubell - Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC

  • Will Fowler - Warilla-Barrack Point SLSC

Far South Coast

  • Halle Constable - Narooma SLSC

  • Jorge Constaable - Narooma SLSC

  • Kyarna Boulton - Tathra SLSC

  • Zimitra Lyras - Tathra SLSC

Monday 15 October 2018