SURFING: Peregian Beach's Noah Stocca is eager to test his wares on the world stage after capturing the national under-18 boys title in New South Wales.
The 17-year-old proved he is one of the country's brightest young prospects with an impressive campaign at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles at Culburra Beach.
He claimed victory with a lively performance in a four-strong final, scoring 14.93 to stave off his nearest challenger Cyrus Cox (13.93).
"It's crazy. I still can't believe it," he said. "I'd have to say this would be my biggest win for sure."
Stocca was lively amid 1.5m surf in the decider.
"I wasn't actually as nervous as a couple of the heats because my goal was to make the Australian team and by making the final I conquered that goal," he said.
"So I had nothing really to lose. I just went out there and tried my best and luckily that was good enough to take the win."
Stocca had to get through multiple rounds to win the title.
"I was just in a really good frame of mind going into the event and just let my surfing do the work," he said.
He can't wait to compete in the International Surfing Association's junior world championships next year, when the sport's pundits, officials and prospective sponsors will watch on.
"That's definitely going to be something I'll be training very hard for," he said."People take a lot of note of who does well in it. If I'm able to do well there, it will definitely be a big achievement.
"Australia is one of the leading countries when it comes to junior surfing and between the four of us in the team I reckon we'll have a very good chance of making some finals."
Stocca lives in the same town as world number four Julian Wilson and has aspirations to one day make it on to the world tour.
"That's the big goal but I'm just trying to take it one step at a time and not be too caught up on that," he said.
Next year, he's likely compete in events on the world's second tier Qualifying Series and he hopes to fare well on the Australasian Pro Junior circuit.
A top four finish in the latter would earn him a berth at the World Surf League junior world championships.
Stocca moved with his family from Victoria to the Sunshine Coast three years ago and he finished his schooling at Coolum Beach State High this year.
He plans to focus on surfing in 2018, with "a bit of part time work here and there" and with hopes of studying in the future.
Coached by Peregian Beach's Brad Lee, he also works with the Ocean Performance Centre's Kerry Keightley.
Stocca has also had opportunities to catch some waves with Wilson.
"Surfing alongside one of the best surfers in the world, it's amazing to see what level he is at," he said.
Meanwhile, Anna Toohey made the final of the under-18 girls division and Tewantin's Lilliana Bowrey reached the final in the under-14 girls section.
They were among several Sunshine Coasters to impress amid a variety of and divisions.