Anna Bay surfer Josh Stretton wins Australian SUP title

CARVE IT UP: Josh Stretton, 17, from Anna Bay has added a 2019 Australian SUP Title to his list of accomplishments after winning the junior men's division. He also placed third in the open men's division.
CARVE IT UP: Josh Stretton, 17, from Anna Bay has added a 2019 Australian SUP Title to his list of accomplishments after winning the junior men's division. He also placed third in the open men's division.

Josh Stretton said he was "stoked" to have rounded out his first year of full-time surfing with a win at the Australian SUP Titles.

The 17-year-old from Anna Bay claimed the junior men (under-18) division of the national SUP titles in Phillip Island, Victoria, in October and placed third in the open men.

"I'm pretty stoked to get those results," Stretton said. "It was a really good competition this year, really competitive. Everyone was surfing really well."

The SUP surf titles saw the best paddlers from most Australian states compete on October 19-22. Selection was based on results at the NSW SUP Titles. At One Mile Beach in June, Stretton won the under-18 junior men's final for a second consecutive year.

Stretton stood out on day one of Aussie titles' surfing events, posting the highest heat total of the day in the junior boys division - 18.25 out of a possible 20.

He cruised into the junior boys final, surfing against Nick Daw and Sam McCullough from Western Australia and fellow New South Welshamn, Indy Rose.

"The main thing I wanted to do was just go out there and have fun," he said. "I didn't put too much thought into what everyone else was doing. I just went out there, concentrated on what I was doing and had fun."

The strategy worked for Stretton who edged out his competitors to claim the title.

Stretton was then edged out to a third place finish in the open men's division by three-time Australian champion Kai Bates (Mollymook) and James Casey (Northern Beaches).

"I'm still pretty happy with that," Stretton said. "I kept sticking it to the old boys."

Stretton in action at the Aussie SUP Titles.

Stretton in action at the Aussie SUP Titles.

In addition to SUP, this year Stretton has been surfing (shortboard) in Qualifying Series and pro junior events.

While the Anna Bay teen has posted some good results, he said this year was all about learning.

"Next year I'll be going a lot harder, consolidating what I've learned this year and putting it into practice," he said. "I'm going to focus more on surfing that SUP next year."

The new year will also bring a change of scenery for Stretton who is planning to surf in Hawaii.

His ultimate goal is to land a spot on the Championship Tour.

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