Brothers in arms on the waves
SURFING brothers hold a special place in the scheme of things like the world class Iron brothers, Andy and Bruce, and there's the indomitable Hobgood twins, CJ and Damien, just to name some of the more notable.
The Gold Coast has had its share like the Drouyns, Peter and Tony in the 60s, the Lees, Bruce and Todd in the 80s and the Harrington twins, Dean and Shaun, in the 90s.
The latest Coolangatta bros or should that be “brews” are the Woods, James and Thomas, born in Capetown, South Africa.
The family moved to Coolangatta four years ago and are now making a run up the ladder.
South Africa boasts two world champs, Shaun Thomson (77) and Martin Potter (89), and then there's the latest line-up Travis Logie who won the recent MR Newcastle and there's Jordy Smith considered to be the next SA World champ in the making.
So there's a fantastic legacy for 17-year-old James and 16-year-old Thomas.
Both have joined the Snapper Surfriders and have attended the PBC school of surfing excellence.
Right now, James Woods is a last minute call-up for the Australian Junior Team heading to Ecuador, South America and the annual World ISA junior titles (March 28 - April 5).
“I received a late call on Friday night confirming my inclusion in the under 18 squad when North Narrabeen's Davey Cathels had to withdraw after busting his ankle,” the stoked James said.
Both Cathels and Woods had to surf off for a spot in the team and were tied on points with Davey getting the nod over James Woods as he had a single higher score.
But then Davey busted his ankle at the Newcastle Pro junior and James was in like Flynn.
James is now the lone Queensland representative dominated by NSW surfers and one West Australian.
This is the second time that James has pulled on the green and gold having competed in the under 16-boys division of the 2007 WISA juniors at Portugal.
“Last year Thomas earned his spot in the Australian team and now it's my turn - he's always trying to beat me and he is definitely better at fishing than me,” James acknowledged that there was plenty of sibling rivalry with his brother, and lots of support.
Both the Woods brothers headed over to Hawaii last year from December and stayed until January, scoring one of the best seasons ever.
“We got to watch the Pipe Masters and surfed some really perfect, powerful and uncrowded waves at Rocky Point,” he said.
“The reef break waves are so different there compared to our sand-bottom waves and it's hard to adjust to when you get home but Hawaii gives you a lot of confidence.”
Thomas or 'Tiger', as he is known won two out of five Rip Curl Grom Search finals last year and has earned his spot in the National Grom series final to be held at Bells Beach during the Rip Curl WCT Easter Pro and a chance to qualify for the International Rip Curl Series final.
The Surfing Australian Junior team has won four out of the last six WISA titles and won the last three in a row.
Alley Boardrider President, Mark “Richo” Richardson is the Australian coach and is greatly admired by James and the team.
“He is such a motivator, energetic and pushes us to try harder, he is a great coach and can rip,” James said, referring to Richo's own competitive record who only last weekend easily won his Print Point Masters category registering the highest score of the day.
Luckily for the team, Richo, has competed at the Ecuador venue when he was runner-up at the 2004 Open WISA titles.
“Basically he has prepared us through his experience and now we know what to expect without having been there,” said James.
He is feeling good about the team's chances for gold.
“The under 18 girls are stacked with talent including the Wright sisters Tyler and Kirby from Culburra and North Narrabeens Laura Enever and the under 18s and under 16 guys are solid including Dean Bowen (Geroa) and Garret Parkes (Byron),” James said.
The contest venue is a left-hand point and the squad has been practicing on the Tweed beach breaks like Kingscliff and Casuarina.
Ecuador as the name implies is right on the equator and super dry and hot.
“Water temp is 28c and the outside temp varies between 30 to 40c,” said James who takes off next Wednesday morning for a 30 hour flight via Chile.
Good luck to the team and you can check their progress on the Surfing Australia webpage by clicking onto ISA.