2018 Gromtag Australian Series

Beach Burrito Northern Beaches Gromtag
Gromtag Australian Series
14th October, Dee Why Beach

Perfect Wave Surf Experience QLD & Northern NSW Gromtag
Gromtag Australian Series
27th October, Duranbah Beach

Triple Bull Cronulla Gromtag
Gromtag Australian Series
10th November, North Cronulla Beach

24th November, Curl Curl Beach
Gromtag Australian Series
Gromtag Australian Championships

Tom Whitaker. Credit - Wes Lonergan Tom Whitaker. Credit - Wes Lonergan



Former pro Tom Whitaker leading the Blue Ducks in 2014

The Australian tour of Jim Beam Surtag makes its way back across the border with the biggest qualifying event of the series set to take place this weekend at North Narrabeen. A monstrous field of 32 teams are set to do battle for the New South Wales south title and with a promising swell forecast event organisers are expecting ideal conditions for competition.

Leading the contingent heading north over the bridge is Bronte Boardriders. The south Sydney club had a fingertip on the Australian Championship last year but it slipped from their grasp in the dying seconds of the final as North Narrabeen snatched their fifth title. Their second place finish marked the club as a group on the rise and has sparked a fire to go one better this year. But first, a standout performance will be required this weekend to qualify for the Australian Championships.

Former World Tour professional Tom Whitaker says his club – known as the Blue Ducks – have a score to settle when they hit the water on Saturday, particularly with hosts North Narrabeen.

“Last year was nuts,” says Whitaker. “There’s a few clubs with a lot of stars but looking at the Bronte team, it’s pretty solid in that all the boys are workers and for us to battle North Narrabeen up there with Snapper as the best club in Australia and almost get the win, for a little bay that’s 100 metres long we were frothing. It was epic but to go one better this year would be magic, that’s what we’re aiming for.”

“We had the lead with a minute to go and if it wasn’t for Noodles’ [Nathan Webster] super long noodle legs running up the beach we would’ve had it.”

Whitaker spent several years among the world’s elite on the CT and had one of the best winning records against 11-time World Champion, Kelly Slater. Holding down a mentoring position with Oakley and still beating up-and-comers on the WQS – most recently a fourth position at the Chiko MP Classic last weekend – Whitaker is surfing better than ever and last year took out the Rhondda Harrison Surfer of the Series Award averaging 6.23 for all 24 waves ridden in the series.

“Seeing where the Jim Beam Surftag has gotten to is awesome,” says Whitaker. “There’s a few rival team formats trying to take the limelight but that rock-solid format of the Jim Beam is so fun and you can’t change it. It’s too good, it’s spot on.”

“I’ve grown up playing a lot of team sports and there’s nothing like playing for each other and this Surftag is exactly that. Although it may not be that physical, the nerves you feel for your team is all-time. I never feel any more nervous than surfing in this competition. This is the hardest kind of surfing. This is why we have World Champs because we breed them and we all surf against each other but we all have a drink and celebrate together.”

While admitting beating North Narrabeen on their home turf will be a big test, Whitaker believes the conditions predicted for the competition will fall in favour of the boys in blue.

“Looking at the swell forecast it could be the best waves we’ve ever had for a tag. It’s going to be nuts. I think better waves suit Bronte because we’ve got a few bigger guys who would love the bigger waves.”

“Even though we’ve got a few results I still feel like we’re going in with the ‘underdog’ tag who take it to those strong clubs. Narra and Snapper – no matter where you are surfing – are always the teams to beat.”

Held over two days, the New South Wales south qualifier attracts some of the strongest clubs in the country. Narrabeen have entered three teams for the weekend’s competition as they pursue their sixth Jim Beam Surftag title. But the hosts can be guaranteed there’ll be fierce opposition with every club hungry to stamp their control on the longest-running tag team series in the country. QBC have gathered two formidable teams to challenge the title, as have Curl Curl, Long Reef, Bondi and Werri Beach. The South Coast hosts a number of strong teams, none more so than Werri Beach who took out the Australian Title in 2009.

Twelve teams will progress through to the Australian Championships to be held at Duranbah Beach on March 27-29 with the winning team at this weekends Qualifier receiving $1500.

Perfect Wave Travel, BOSCH and TEE INK proudly support the Jim Beam Surftag.

2014 NSW South Jim Beam Surftag Heat Draw,

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