Hungry for waves at Surfest
SEVERAL shark scares weren't enough to quell pro surfer Jeames Young's appetite for waves at the Surfest Pro Junior.
Young and fellow local Chris Zaffis competed in the Hunter Business Board Riders Pro Junior at Merewether Beach at the weekend.
Despite the competition being called off on Saturday because of a shark sighting, the 17-year-old hit the water again on Sunday to score a place in the quarter-finals.
While he just missed a spot in the semi-finals, it was the best result he has posted this year, and Young said it made him hungry for more.
Big hacks on his best wave of the contest earned him a 7.5.
"It was really fun and I got really pumped to surf. It was good to see swell for a contest," he said.
"It was pretty crazy all week with so many shark sightings - an hour before it was spotted I was in my round three heat in the (same place).
"I wasn't too worried the next day; it's just one of those things. You surf every day and there could be a shark five metres away from you the size of a bus."
For Zaffis, the shark sightings were so inconsequential that he stuck it out in the water during a free-surf before the competition, despite the shark alarms blaring from the beach.
"I stayed out with a few mates and we got the waves all to ourselves," he said.
"It was kind of sketchy but, oh well.
"It seems like more and more attacks lately which is super heavy, but you've just got to realise that you're out there with them and got to deal with it. You can't do much else about it."
The practice paid off, and Zaffis won his first heat on Friday, beating Dylan Lightfoot, who placed second.
He was knocked out in the round of 32 on Sunday morning.
"The waves were small but fun," he said.
"The last heat was really close and came down to last exchange at the end but I just missed out on the last one."
Zaffis said he would knuckle down for a while and focus on getting his HSC at Maclean High.
"I haven't been back to school this year yet. I've been away on the road," he said.
"It's good to be home for the first time home in three months."