Teed surfies carry torch for Oz in Portugal
By TANIA PHILLIPS
TWO Coolangatta-Tweed teenagers will lead the Australian charge at the Quiksilver ISA World Junior Surfing Championships in Portugal next week. Cabarita's Ashley Smith and Rainbow Bay surfer James Wood fly out with the rest of the Australian team to take on the world in the Portugese surf. Smith, 17, finished second in the Under 18 Australian Grommet title to snare a spot in the under-18 women's event on the international stage. The competition will mean 10 days off school for James Wood, with the 15-year-old Palm Beach Currumbin High Year 10 student competing in the under-16s event. Wood, born in South Africa, just managed to be naturalised in time for the Australian titles and went on to finish second. The family moved to Australia two years ago and now consider this country home. "Fifteen days before the Australian title we got a letter in our mail box saying that James would not be able to compete unless he was an Australian citizen," James' mother Gill Wood said. "He was getting up every every morning to go surfing and train - keen to win the Australian titles. We all knew he might not be able but we couldn't tell him." Armed with all the relevant papers and supporting letters from the Surfing Australia, Surfing Queensland and sponsors, Gill continued to phone and drop in to the offices until James and younger brother Thomas were naturalised and had their chance to achieve their dream. The event is part of an exciting year for Smith too. The talented surfer has always been there-abouts but emerging as a top women's surfer- and even earned a spot in the trials of the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks earlier this year.