Seven of Australia’s best female junior surfers aged 17 – 20 have been given the opportunity to push their surfing to the next level as part of the first Rising 7 Harvey Norman High Performance camp hosted by 7x World Champion and Surfing Australia Chair, Layne Beachley.
The camp aims to provide a pathway for young athletes who are transitioning between the Pro Juniors and Qualifying & Challenger Series. With daily challenges set up to test their skills, the winner takes home $10,000 worth of prizes and a 12-month mentorship with Layne Beachley all thanks to Harvey Norman.
Beachley said: “The Rising 7 camp is about challenging, empowering and inspiring the next generation of Australian female surfers. Seeing how they adapt to the pressure, how they adapt to all the different challenges we put on their shoulders and how respectful they are both in and out of the water.”
“They’re beginning to leave school, and some are balancing work and training commitments. A sponsorship and mentorship would deeply support their journey and it also aligns to the Surfing Australia High Performance Program strategy to support females in this age group and retain them in the pathway as they transition through this often
Held at the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre in Casuarina, NSW earlier this year the three-day camp included surfing sessions as well as mental performance in competition training and surf specific strength & conditioning training.
Each surfer was hand selected by Beachley with Surfing Australia Talent Pathway Coach, Chelsea Hedges developing the program.
Hedges said the challenges were designed to give surfers a sense of what it takes to make the World Championship Tour.
“These girls are all aged under 21 with dreams of being on the WCT. It’s a massive opportunity just to be selected. The challenges were designed to test the surfer’s skill set in high pressure moments. Each challenge was worth a set number of points that go towards a leaderboard and the eventual crowning of a winner,” Hedges said.
Lilliana Bowrey (Sunshine Coast QLD) said: “I see the girls around me and I’m like, wow, I’m part of this. It’s huge, especially being chosen by Layne Beachley, so I’m very grateful and very excited. My pick (for the winner) would be between Ellie and Nyxie as they as they just made the Challenges Series but I’m also keeping an eye out for Willow Hardy as she’s the baby of the group but she’s a silent assassin.”
Willow Hardy (Margaret River, WA) said: “It’s such an amazing opportunity to be picked to be involved in the Rising 7 camp, especially with Layne who is someone I think we all look up to so much.”
Coral Durant (Red Bluff, WA) said: “You know that everything, the hard work you’ve put in throughout your whole junior career and to be noticed for it and to be picked to be here, is just such a good feeling. I’m so stoked.”
Ellie Harrison (Barwon Heads, VIC) said: “It means a lot to me especially to be picked by Layne and be one of only seven in Australia and girls. It’s pretty special. To win that money and have Layne by my side would be such a big help.”
Zahlia Short (Stanwell Park, NSW) said: “Some of the older girls I’ve grown up watching in the QS (Qualifying Series) and surf and it feels super surreal being in the same camp as them and being considered to go up against them.”
Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head, NSW) said: “Just to learn from Layne and share her experiences with her that’d be amazing. I’ve been working three jobs to try and save up for the Challenger Series so the 10 grand would definitely be a help to try and get me to all the comps.”
Keira Buckpitt (Culburra Beach, NSW) said: “It’s crazy to be at this Rising 7 camp, all the girls that are here, they’re all so good. Zahlia, Coral, Nyxie, anyone could win.”
The camp will feature in a four part series to be released on the mySURFtv YouTube channel from tomorrow and will also feature in two episodes of Surfing Australia TV on Channel 9 on the 19th of August and 16th of September, 2023.
Rising 7 Athletes