SURFING: If 2017 was the breakout year for Angourie grommet Dakoda Walters, then 2018 is the year the 16-year-old hopes to cement himself as a top contender.
After joining the Billabong Bloodlines team, Walters has been on a whirlwind adventure including spending time in America at the world-renowned Newport Beach as well as travelling to Pipe Masters in Hawaii last month.
It has been an incredible adventure and one that the junior surfer does not want to end according to dad and surf instructor, Jeremy Walters.
"He has been to plenty of world tour events before, but this last one in Hawaii he was just so much more a part of it all,” Jeremy said.
"He was staying in the Billabong house just down from the beach, Iggy Pop played an impromptu house party in his backyard and he got to see John John Florence crowned world champion.
"Being in the mix while all the world tour guys were getting ready to surf their heats was a real eye-opening experience for him, it was great.”
Jeremy said his son's desire to one day join the world tour had not waned, only intensified, but for now he was still paying his dues at home.
"He is still just a young grom, just a kid from Angourie looking to make it big,” he said. "He surfs as much as he can but he still has school and that is the main focus for now.
"The Billabong guys, and all his other sponsors - including Stacey Surfboards and Globe - are really looking after him.”
While he might still be coming down from the high that was 2017, Walters has had little time to refocus as he aims for a strong start to the year in the 2018 Hydralyte Sports Pro Junior at Bells Beach. The WSL-sanctioned event is the first in a three-leg series that will travel to the Gold Coast and Cronulla. The series will also act as a qualifier for the WSL Junior Championships in 2019.