Seven North Devon surfers in Calypso British Junior Squad
THERE has been a great start to the year for seven young North Devon surfers with the announcement of the Calypso British Junior Squad.
Some have represented their country before, but for others this will be their first taste of international competition.
Taz Knight, Peony Knight, Laura Crane and Lucy Campbell have already seen GB team action in recent years.
This time, Flora Lawton, Alex Gibson and Will Bailey will be aiming to make the final 14, out of 24, who will go to Nicaragua in June for the International Surfing Association World Surfing Games.
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A broken ankle sustained two weeks ago in a football match means Will, the British under-14 champion, will miss the first training weekend in Croyde this month.
"Being in the GB squad is amazing," he said.
"It would be so good to represent my country in the Games and surf against good surfers from across the world in good waves."
An international call-up may not be new for Laura and Lucy but they are still excited.
Laura said: "Representing my country is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever been given and to get the chance to do it again will be great.
"I am proud to be part of a squad with such talented athletes.
"I haven't been to Nicaragua before but I have heard the wind is always perfect and it's a beautiful place."
Lucy saw her place in the squad as a reward for her training throughout the year.
"The games are always such an incredible experience," she said.
"The way the selection process is this year, it's going to keep the whole squad working extra hard to earn a place in the final team.
John Ellis, the assistant team coach, said: "North Devon has a really talented crew of junior surfers.
"They are supported by a fantastic group of parents and volunteers.
"It's great to see all the competition, training and passion from everyone involved has paid off with so many qualifying for the squad.
"It's an achievement all the surfers should be extremely proud of."