Jacob Willcox, Kael Walsh, Duke Ngatzaam, India Willcox and Shaun Manners. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

As they paddle towards the rolling surf, a pod of sun-bleached mops and huge grins, these teens are clearly having the time of their lives.

But with a swag of surfing trophies between them and the support of iconic surf brands behind them, they also have their sights firmly set on the big time.

According to Surfing WA, the juniors now riding the waves that propelled Taj Burrow and Jake Paterson to worldwide success are following closely in the wake of their heroes.

The surfing world’s attention is again focused on the South West, with Jacob Willcox, 15, Shaun Manners, 14, Duke Nagtzaam, 14, and Kael Walsh, 13, considered the cream of the junior crop.

Leading the charge is Margaret River teenager Jack Robinson, who at just 15 is already described as a “global icon” and is believed to have a lucrative sponsorship deal with Quiksilver.

Surfing WA events manager Justin Majeks believes the next Burrow or Paterson is among the current crop of grommets from Margaret River and Yallingup.

“To have two boys, Jacob and Kael, come home with Australian titles in the under-16s and under-14s is a massive achievement,” he said.

Jacob, from Margaret River, said his goal always had been to be a professional surfer.

“Last year was one of my biggest years,” he said. “I got to go to Hawaii in November for a Rip Curl training camp and won the Australian title in November.”

His mother Emma said surfing ran in the family, with Jacob’s younger sister India, 11, doing well in the recent Taj’s Small Fries under-12s girls category.

The West Australian

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