Local knowledge powers Coast surfers

By Joseph Price

Peregian’s Noah Stocca and Coolum’s Ellia Smith were crowned 2019 QCC Sunshine Coast Pro champions yesterday.

To the delight of both surfers, the small swell meant Coolum Beach was the pick as competitors braved rainy weather early before the sun came out.

Stocca was the only Coast representative in the final, with the 18-year-old receiving a strong last-minute score to gain the lead and ultimately snatch the win from Burleigh’s Maddy Job.

“It feels amazing to win the event, especially at home in front of my friends and family,” Stocca said.

Smith was ecstatic with the win at home, beating former World Surf League surfer and fellow Sunshine Coaster Dimity Stoyle.

“It was a really good feeling taking the win at my home break, because obviously I surf and train there all the time, so it made the win extra special,” Smith said.

Both surfers had an edge heading into the final with the pair having plenty of experience surfing at Coolum Beach.

“I’ve surfed loads of events at Coolum over the last four years and feel it definitely helps with positioning and understanding how the wave usually breaks,” Stocca said.

Smith said the local conditions gave an advantage.

“I was really confident on those waves because I had been surfing there for the last couple of days,” Smith said.

“It definitely gave me the advantage over them, so yeah I felt really confident out there.”

Smith, 16, was one of the youngest surfers competing and knew that winning the Open Women’s division was going to be challenging.

“I was very happy to win against those girls because they are experienced and are all good surfers,” Smith said.

“I was just really determined to give it my all because I had nothing to lose.”

The Sunshine Coast is producing a string of quality surfers behindCoolum’s Julian Wilson, who is through to the semi-finals at the Margaret River Pro after defeating fellow Aussie Ryan Callinan

Wilson’s efforts have inspired both Stocca and Smith, who will be cheering him on as he looks to defeat USA’s Kolohe Andino to book a spot in the final.

“I’m a big fan of Julian and it’s great to see someone local going really well at that level,” Smith said.

Stocca said Wilson was “one of my favourite surfers” and he always watched him compete.

The Margaret River Pro has been called off for the day while organisers wait for conditions to improve.

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