April 3, 2013
At just 15 years of age, Margaret River surfer Jacob Willcox is being touted as the next big thing to burst onto the world surfing scene.
WA’s Junior Surfer of the Year was recently announced as the wildcard entrant into the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, making him one of the youngest competitors to ever compete at the event.
After a stunning performance at the recent Margaret River Pro, Willcox proved he had what it took by beating 2012 world number five Adriano de Souza and advancing further than the likes of current world champ Joel Parkinson and local surfing stalwart Taj Burrow.
Even though he was eliminated in the round of 48, Willcox – the current Australian Under 16 champion – won a cool $1900.
“I was pretty happy to get this far and just be able to surf against a couple of legends,” he told InkWire.
Willcox said his surfing had changed now he was competing against World Championship Tour surfers.
“I surf more like a man, because I’m up against the bigger boys,” he said.
The Year 11 student who would normally be at school said his friends were “stoked” for him.
“I think most of them are having the day off school to watch,” Willcox said.
Commentator and former professional surfer Dave Macaulay said the Margaret River Pro had been Willcox’s career-launcher and he would probably win the event in a few years’ time.
“He’s basically just grooming himself for the World Championship Tour which I reckon he’ll be on one day,” Macaulay said.
“What a massive experience for such a young fellow to come up against some of the world’s best.
“It was really well done.”
Four-time world champion, and senior commentator, Mark Richards said the young gun was definitely one to watch.
“He’s looking good,” Richards said.
“He’s playing a very smart game … not being over-awed at all by these more highly-rated surfers.
“I’ve seen a lot of junior campaigns look as good as his and they’ve turned into top 10 world surfers.”
Photos: Stephanie Price