By Luke Voogt
Jan Juc 13-year-old Willis Droomer has beaten surfers up to two years his senior to take out this year’s under 16 Victorian Junior Titles.
Droomer was “stoked” and “proud” to win round two in tricky two-to-three foot waves at Phillip Island on Sunday against older grommets.
“I have to be in the under 16s because I’m turning 14 in May,” he said.
“There were lots of submerged rocks everywhere, you had to sort of dodge them.
“The waves were really short and they didn’t come through very often – but when they did come through, they were good.”
The win took Droomer’s tally to two in the best-of-three series, clinching him the championship.
Last year he won the Victorian under 14 championship before placing fourth in nationals last November.
The most recent win was 10 years in the making, he revealed.
“I’ve been surfing since I was three,” he said.
“I remember I was begging mum for a surfboard and I was hassling her all week.
“She took me out on her eight-foot longboard and I pretty much got into after then.”
Both his mum and dad grew up away from the coast, he said.
“So when they moved down to Jan Juc they got the opportunity to surf and they just loved it.”
Droomer looked forward to surfing again in the Australian championships after his most recent win but admitted the competition would be tougher.
“It will be harder than last year because I’ll be versing kids from all around Australia and most of them will be older than me.”
The young grommet has no favourite pro surfer but instead likes different competitors on World Surf League (WSL) circuit for their trademark skills.
“I like Kelly Slater because he’s great at riding barrels, Mick Fanning because he’s good at re-entries and carves, and Julian Williams for his airs,” he said.
He dreams of competing in the WSL, but said he would be happy to work in “anything surf-related”, from wave pools to designing boards.
Jan Juc’s Mia Huppatz and Point Londsale’s Jay Phipps won the under 16 girls and under 14 boys respectively in round 2.