Chippa back to judge grom comp
THE Rip Curl Into Summer Challenge was the kind of event that Chris "Chippa" Wilson cut his teeth on as a grommet growing up at Cabarita Beach.
Now a renowned freesurfer, Wilson spends little time at home, but he flew back to Australia this week in time to be a guest judge at the annual event at his home break this weekend.
The premier Tweed Coast grom comp will attract more than 80 of the nation's top junior surfers who are sure to be star-struck by one of the world's aerial surfing innovators.
"This one definitely helped me out as a grom. I never really went in that many comps, but this one gave me a little spark to do a few," Chippa said.
"I reckon it will be sick this year. I'm looking forward to seeing what all the kids can do. I'll probably give a kid a nine for a chop-hop, or something," he laughed.
You can take the kid out of Cabarita, but you can't take Cabarita out of the kid, and Chippa is still the same laid-back, friendly surfer who rocketed to fame just two years ago and will happily oblige the dozens of grommets who want to have a chat.
He will not only judge a few of the heats, but will also decide the winner of a t-shirt art competition which is a new part of the event this year.
Instead of printing out identical t-shirts for all the kids, organisers will give them blank shirts, and provide pens to decorate the shirts as they would like.
Chippa's competitive experience in the past couple of years has been confined to air shows, but he hinted he had itchy feet and may have a crack at competition next year.
The Rip Curl Into Summer Challenge sparked his interest as a kid. Perhaps it will give him a spark as an adult as well.
The groms will be in action all day today and tomorrow somewhere near Norries Head at Cabarita Beach.