Occy brews a bobby-dazzler
By ANDREW McKINNON YOU know a surfing event is popular when entries are full almost four weeks out of the competition.
Of course when you're talking about the most popular surfing figure ever and 'God's gift' to the grommet surfing world that is Mark Occhilupo, it's no wonder that the third annual Occy Grom event is proving to be the most popular grom show on the planet.
Occy, who turned another milestone in the surfing history books by chalking up a win in round two of the Rip Curl Search in Mexico as the first ever 40-year-old on the ASP World tour to do so, is still a grommet at heart.
His young wife, Mae, and four-year-old son, Jay, just keep the 'grom' in Mark alive every day.
D-Bah is the official venue of the Occy grom event kicking off from this Saturday until next Wednesday, July 5 and has attracted as many as 200 competitors in the u/16s to the u/12s.
There will also be a stack of beachside entertainment not normally reserved for surfing events.
It was back in 1984 that Billabong sponsored the Surf into Summer International Pro using D-bah as the venue with grandstand seating and side show alley and food stalls.
While the surfing public preferred to stand in the water or on top of the hill to watch Hawaiian Hans Hedeman win the event, the thing that stuck in most surfing minds was the massive front side air that Occy pulled off as a brash young 16-year-old.
I mean, nobody had seen anything like that at D-Bah and that was 24 years ago!
Again, thanks to Occy, DBah will be transformed into a carnival of activities in- cluding electronic motorbikes, famous cartoon characters, an inflatable gladiator dueling ring, a blow up jumping castle and mini rollercoaster.
If you're a fan of Sponge Bob Square Pants and Patrick along with James and Dave from Nickelodeon's Sarvo, catch them this Saturday and Sunday only at Dbah.
Billabong team riders will be down to sign boards and bodies and of course there's the man himself on site to watch the games begin.
BON voyage and good luck to the local girls heading off to France for the Roxy Pro women's longboard world titles to be held at Cote des Basques, Biarritz starting Monday, July 3 until July 9.
Chelsea Williams, Tegan and Selby Riddle, Lisa Nicholson and Kirsty Webster will compete in the first ever ASP World sanctioned longboard event for women.
CONGRATULATIONS to newly crowned u/16 Old junior state winners James Woods (Coolangatta) and Tiana McNeven (Tugun) for wining back-to-back FCS Junior finals. Both James and Tiana will be at the Austra- lian Grommet titles.
To coincide with the Occy Grom event at Duranbah Beach this weekend, the Mail and Andy Mac's surf column has five special Tshirts to be won.
For your chance to win a Occy Grom T-shirt, simply put your name, address and phone number on the back of an envelope and include a Mail News masthead in it and send it to: Occy Grom T-shirt Competition, P.O.Box 6336, Tweed Heads South, 2486. Winners in next week's column.