Young's last stand on home shore
SURFING: When Angourie carver Jeames Young walks into the surf today for his first surf competition of 2017, he will also be walking into his last.
Young, who has been one of the leading competitors out of the Clarence Valley since he stormed his way to back-to-back junior NSW surfing titles, will be hanging up the rashies for this year as he gets back to focussing on why he got into the sport to begin with - his love of the ocean.
Instead of continuing on his quest to dominate the World Surf League's QS events around the world, Young will be chasing the best swells around the globe.
"This year will just be an adventure year for me," Young said. "Surfing all the time in competitions can take it out of you and I think I just want to enjoy the sport for the next year.
"Instead of turning up, finding tough, shallow surf and crashing out in round one, I will be finding good swell and just carving.
"I have spoken to a fair few people now and everyone agrees this is the right idea for me right now."
Today's Pippi Beach Classic will aim as Young's last competitive surfing event for the foreseeable future but he said it did not add any extra expectation.
While the $1000 prizemoney up for grabs in the Men's and Women's Open competitions acts as a nice carrot, Young said the day was about coming together as a club - as a family.
"It is back up and running and it is just good to give it a go and show the day some support," Young said. "There is a chance where the Classic can go really big.
"Everyone is off work and in the mood to party. The Hottest 100 will be pumping all day and everyone can just have some fun.
"It would be good to win it, but I just want to have fun surfing against all the local blokes you don't usually go up against in competition."
One local surfer Young is excited to potentially meet in competition is high-flying grom Dakoda Walters.
Fifteen-year-old Walters is the son of surf school teacher and former Pippi Beach Classic competitor Jeremy Walters - who will also dust off the board for today's return of the Classic.
Young has been a keen observer of Walters' rise through the surfing ranks but due to an age difference has never met him on a competitive front.
"I think a lot of the younger groms, like Dakoda, will give us older guys a serious run for the money," he said. "I am excited to see what they can produce for the competition. I can't wait to surf against him."
The two will need to overcome a returning Dan Ross, who is being touted as the man to beat today.
A former world tour professional, Ross won the previous instalment of the Pippi Beach Classic and despite a more than five-year absence will be determined to continue his streak.
Walters' father said it was a great moment for the surf community in the lower Clarence to welcome back the Classic.
The 40-year-old has rated himself no chance of taking out the prize, with a severe lack of surf time in recent months hurting his chances.
There will also be competitions in over-45s and under-16s, which have some awesome prizes.
Surfing kicks off with the opening heats from 7.45am today and will continue well into the night.
Get down to Pippi Beach for a day of festive fun on the shore.