ETHAN Hartge will take confidence out of his starring role for Frenchmans Boardriders Club into his second attempt at the Surfest nib Pro Junior this weekend at Merewether.
Hartge, 15, helped Frenchmans win the Surfest Orica Teams Challenge at Stockton last weekend and will be among the local hopes at Merewether in the 1000-point World Surf League junior tour stop.
The Caves Beach 15-year-old was the junior member of the Frenchmans team, which also included Dan Frodsham and James McMorland.
“I just tried not to let them down because I’ve always looked up to them,” Hartge said of the win. “I’ll take some confidence from it.”
Hartge was knocked out in the first round of the pro junior last year but went on to help Frenchmans win the local wildcard into the Australian Boardriders Battle national final at Newcastle.
“I’m surfing a bit better than I was then so hopefully I go all right,” he said. “There’s a lot of good guys and I’m only going to get better from surfing against them.”
In the girls event, Corlette surfer Elle Clayton-Brown, who is seventh on the junior tour rankings, will be among the local hopes along with Merewether's Madison Poole and 13-year-old wildcard trials winner Sabre Norris.
At the 1000-point QS Great Lakes Pro on Friday, Merewether’s Jackson Baker backed up his Tweed Coast Pro title to win his round-three heat. Clubmate Morgan Cibilic and former championships tour surfer, Matt Banting, also progressed. Merewether’s Philippa Anderson won her opening heat in the women’s.