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Byron Shire
July 28, 2021

Grommets to surf on at Lennox

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A presentation to Le-Ba grommets from mentor and Skullcandy team rider Owen Wright.

Melissa Hargraves

The popular annual Lennox Head junior surfing competition will continue this year, despite the previous event promoter’s pulling out.

Lennox-Ballina Boardriders Club (Le-Ba) sought Ballina Shire Council support for a three-year commitment to facilitate the planned growth and development of the event. On Thursday, Council endorsed this arrangement as they recognised the difficulty in securing investment from a sponsor for a one-off event.

Vegas Enterprises, trading as Rusty, have held the competition for 16 years but in March decided not to proceed with this year’s event. Le-Ba became aware of Rusty’s withdrawal and committed to continue the internationally recognised event.

‘It wasn’t until we started hearing the disappointment from various parties, such as parents who came to the event each year, and local sponsors who were receiving cancellation for accommodation examples. That’s when we thought surely there’s something we can do about this,’ Le-Ba committee member and previous Gromfest judge Tony O’Brien told Echonetdaily.

Le-Ba has been established more than 25 years and has a wide range of expertise among its committee and 200 members, including business directors, marketing managers with surf companies, strategists, business operators – and qualified surfing judges.

Major international Byron Bay-based company Skullcandy agreed to a three-year financial commitment. The proposal put before council requested a three-year approval to facilitate the planned growth and development of the event.

The newly identified event is named 2012 Skullcandy Oz Grom Open Surfing Competition and will be held over 6–10 July. The dates enable the grommets to follow on from the Billabong Occy Grom Comp, which is held a week prior to this event.

Many exciting innovations will be delivered in the new competition format. New judging criteria have been developed exclusively for the event by the current Australian Surfing Professional (ASP) head judge Mr Pritamo Andreht that have not been used in any junior surfing event anywhere in the world.

Tony said, ‘another first for any junior surfing event is the majority of the judging panel is to comprise current ASP judges’.

Ballina Council are planning to run a workshop in June to discuss their existing Special Events Policy. Tony suggested that ‘particularly with sporting events, there should be some consultation with local sports clubs, that is if a rugby event is to be held in Ballina, the local rugby club should be involved at some level’.

Tony extended the idea to the governance of surfing events in Australia. ‘Local boardrider clubs should be involved in events held locally.’

Yesterday’s decision leans toward that notion of community involvement in larger sporting events.

With confirmation by a number of the world’s top juniors the event looks like it will be a pearler!


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