Lily and Joel to defend under-18 longboard titles today
LOCAL surfing sensations Lily Ellis and Joel Skinner hit the water today to defend their respective NSW Under-18 Longboard titles.
Twelve months ago Lily won the girls state title and Joel the boys at North Boomerang Beach. Both went on to win national titles at Emerald Beach.
Now the duo have the chance to repeat the effort on home waves with their first heats to take place this morning at Yamba.
Most days this week, Lily's routine before school has been the same. Wake up, get dressed, head to the shoreline and paddle out into the surf.
There are only a few hours between sunrise and the school bell but the 16-year-old Wooloweyah longboarder has made the most of any practice time she could get.
"If I don't get anywhere I'll be disappointed but I won't be extremely upset," Lily said.
"It's more for the fun of the competition that I go in it."
She said she felt her surfing had improved immensely since she took out the Australian title in the under-18 girls last year.
This year she placed sixth overall at the Noosa Festival of Surfing, where she competed against 24 longboarders from all over the world.
Lily has also picked up two new sponsors - Bennett Surfboards and wetsuit company Seventhwave.
"I don't think I have any new moves, but I can do everything better," she said.
"The swell's meant to be picking up a lot and I just do better in the bigger surf - it's more fun."
Joel warmed into the competition yesterday by finishing fourth in the Open Loggers division, won by Isaac Fields from Evans Head.
Meanwhile Lily's mother Di Ellis achieved the first podium for the hosts when she finished third in the Over-35 Women behind defending champion Debbie Allan (Noraville) and runner up Vivienne Cresswell (Collaroy Plateau).
The other event decided on day two was the Over-60 Men which saw John Murray (Valery) unleashed a barrage of critical forehand carves.