Wooli surfer comes up against world champion
NOT many surfers say they've competed against a world champion, but at the age of 13, Wooli surf grommet Carly Shanahan is already proving she is not most surfers.
The teen sensation was competing in the Australian Boardriders Battle national final last weekend, riding for the Coffs Harbour Boardriders Club, when she was called up for her first heat.
Little did she know, one of her biggest idols and current world champion Tyler Wright would be paddling out with her.
"That was crazy, I didn't even know I was going to surf that heat," she said.
"We got there and conditions were smll which is more my strength so they asked me how I felt about going out with Tyler."
Her answer to that question amused her coach so much it ended up being broadcast across the whole beach by the commentators.
"I said when I go in a heat I just think I have to smash the rest of the competitors, so I'll just have to smash her," she laughed.
"I didn't get to do that because she's kind of the world champion, but the funny thing is I watched heaps of Tyler Wright videos before the competition to get me inspired. I was so nervous before that heat because I was versing her.
"When she started to walk down to the sand I just ran up and gave her a hug. She's so cool."
And while Wright, surfing for the Culburra Boardriders, made a huge impression on Shanahan, it seems the opposite was also true.
"That was such a nice and fun environment," Wright told Surfing NSW after the heat.
"I think the coolest thing about this event is that you get to share it with young surfers like Carly (Shanahan - Coffs Harbour) and have the opportunity to a conversation with them."
The youngster's brush with surfing royalty has also improved her confidence as she prepares to surf in the Under 16 girls section of the Australian Open of Surfing this weekend.
"I'm really excited because its going to feel like nothing versing someone your age compared to versing a champion, I'm just going to have so much more confidence," she said.
"Plus the fours I was getting scored in that heat (in the Australian Boardriders Battle) will be eights in my division."
Shanahan is also hoping to rub shoulders with more of the surfing elite.
"There's going to be some pro surfers there so that's going to be cool," she said.
"I'll basically just be running around get photos with them."