Willow rides wave of success

Mar 28, 2023 | Individual Athlete, News

Teen surfer Willow Hardy continues to make waves, following a reputation-defining start to the year which saw her once again prove that Taj’s Small Fries is her event to lose.

After a successful stint at Surfest in Newcastle, local teenager Willow Hardy is now sitting eighth overall in the Regional Qualifying Series (QS) – the World Surf League’s events which provide a pathway to the Challenger Series which leads to the Championship Tour.

On Sunday, Hardy finished ninth in the Burton Automotive & Speaking in Colour Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000, which saw some of the best surfers in the Asia-Pacific region battle it out.

“My highlight has been coming over here and seeing where the level is and just being able to do training and surfing,” Hardy said.

The 16-year-old Margaret River talent has been riding a wave of success, including this year’s Taj’s Small Fries.

“I’ve managed to win Taj’s Small Fries six times. That was the first event I ever won,” Hardy said.

“Because it was my first comp I ever did it just felt so crazy that six years later I’m still doing the same thing.”

After the Under-18 Girls title at Taj’s Small Fries earlier this year, the teenage talent also stamped her authority at the Woolworths WA Junior Surf Titles where she was victorious in the Under-18 Junior Girls category.

Major moments for this emerging star include representing Australia at the 2022 ISA World Junior Surfing Championship in El Salvador and coming equal third in the 2022 World Surf League Taiwan Open of Surfing Women’s QS 5000. Other achievements include winning the 14 and under category of the 2021 National Rip Curl GromSearch Champion.

Pictured: Willow Hardy was among those charging the surf at the Burton Automotive & Speaking in Colour Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000 (photo credit: WSL / Darren Anderson).