Chris primed for national titles

ANGOURIE'S Chris Zaffis has just come down from Cloud Nine, literally.

Zaffis, 13, returned from the famous surf break off the Philippines earlier this week as he prepares to tackle the Under-16 Australian championships at Coffs Harbour in December.

Zaffis is carrying some good form leading into the biggest surfing contest of his life, after placing second at the Barton Lynch Blastoff at Palm Beach and the Ocean & Earth Teenage Rampage at Newcastle last month.

"Cloud Nine was a heaps good experience," Zaffis said.

"It's a great reef and surf break over there and while there was a lot of poverty in the Philippines, everyone was very happy and welcoming."

Zaffis, at 13, is more than two years younger than many of his opponents, and admits that poses extra challenges for him as he eyes off the Australian title in the under-16 division.

"It's pretty tough surfing against the older kids. They are usually a lot bigger and have more experience," he said.

"But I've managed to go pretty well so far, so fingers crossed I can score well again."

The Angourie surfer narrowly missed out on winning the Teenage Rampage event at Newcastle, despite posting the highest heat score.

When the second day of the contest was cancelled because of bad weather, Zaffis was beaten on countback by a higher individual wave score.

That placing also qualified him to compete in the O&E International at Cronulla on December 19-22.

"I was pretty stoked to go well again this year in the older age group of the BL Blastoff, too," Zaffis said.

"I won the under-12s event last year, but had to step up to under-14s this year.''

The highlight for the youngster, however, came after the competition had ended, when the surfing legend Barton Lynch selected Zaffis as the boy at the competition with the most potential and awarded him a $500 coaching scholarship.

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