The Kids Are Alright
Over the last 12 months Billabong's junior development program has seen more than 40 of Europe's future stars schooled on what it takes to become a successful pro surfer. Under the watchful eye and loud bark of Billabong European Surf Team Trainer Richard "Dog" Marsh, girls and boys in mini-groms, juniors and QS surfers have undergone intensive training camps involving everything from jetski driving to advanced aerial surfing, travelled as a team from Portugal to Gran Canaria to Ireland to compete in junior events, submitted videos on Facebook for remote coaching, had their own gym built on the beach at Hossegor and have been given the inside track on getting the right boards, competition strategy and video anaylsis. A group of 10-15 year olds mini-groms, some seen in the Fish Fingers clip, have also been formed to plant the seed of development at the very grassroots level.
Marsh, himself a former WCT top ten and Pipe Masters finalists, has overseen the program and is stoked on the effect it has on the kids. "I'm proud that we've been really active in identifying the younger groms, and am buzzing on making the junior team better surfers, and hopefully better people. The end goal is to have these kids as European champs. It will take time, but the building blocks are there"
Of course groms being groms, the key is about having fun in, and out, of the water and flaring in the salt water every chance they get. These clips, be it training camp sessions in Portugal or intense competitive situations in Gran Canaria, show how hard these kids are travelling, training and enjoying being the pick of Europe's next generation of surf stars.
The likes of Frederico Morais, Ian Fontaine, Tomas Fernandes and Mateia Hiquily are just some of the surfers featured here that are benefitting from an intensive year round coaching program. And with European pro junior events coming thick and fast over the next two weeks, stay tuned and expect to see more clips as the team take on the Europe’s best.
Photo © Carlos Pinto