Forty of WA's best junior surfers got a taste of professional surfing over the weekend while competing on one of the biggest stages in surfing, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Throughout the weekend the surfers received insight from the country's best coaches, participated in workshops to improve their career aspirations, got to meet the professional surfers competing in the main event and take part in an event that has acted as a major stepping stone for several young WA surfers.
Surfing Australia national coaching director Martin Dunn and sports scientist Dr Jeremy Shepherd joined Surfing WA's regional high performance coaches to help develop the future champions of the sport.
"This is such a rare and valuable opportunity for these young surfers," Dunn said.
"No other event in Australia runs something like this for the juniors, and it's great to see the kids perform so well in quite large and challenging surf."
Preliminary Grom Prix heats ran on Saturday, with competitors making it into the finals on Sunday to surf in front of a big crowd alongside the pros at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Dealing with the conditions best were Margaret River surfers Josh Burke and Ella Massie who won the junior boys and junior girls divisions respectively.
"It's been a great weekend and I've learnt a lot of great things that I'm going to be working on improving," said Massie, who defeated Eliza Greene (Yallingup), Luciana Burke (Margaret River) and Bailee Hastie (Margaret River).
Burke celebrated his 17th birthday in style, winning a close final from Mandurah's Harry McPherson on the strength of a heat high 8.37 ride (from a possible 10). Burke edged out McPherson and Jake Edwards (Cottesloe) who finished in third ahead of Pascal Hutchinson (Sorrento) in fourth.
The invited surfers from around the State form a development squad that will be managed under Surfing WA's high performance programs through the year.