Eden Hasson's surf skills shine on screen for Surfing NSW's Ocean and Earth Junior Web Surfing Titles

The air of competition was familiar and the process, use his skill on the waves to edge out his rivals, the same but the one organised surfing event Eden Hasson entered this month was like none other.

The up-and-coming junior surfer from Boat Harbour did not watch his fellow competitors from the water or beach as usual but instead from behind a screen when he entered the first Surfing NSW Ocean and Earth Junior Web Surfing Titles.

"It was really weird but also a lot of fun," the 13-year-old said of the unique competition experience.

"We each had to submit two clips that were shot in 2020. On the day of the competition we went to a website where we could see the clips that everyone entered being judged and ranked."

Due to the coronavirus, the junior surfing titles went to an online format where competitors entered two of their best existing surfing clips shot at a NSW beach this year.

The surfers in each division, from under-12 to under-18, were put through rounds of live heats earlier in May and were able to watch in real time as panel of accredited judges critiqued their moves.

Competitors were able to watch their rankings change according to the judges' live scoring. A live online presentation was held on May 11, two weeks after the live heats, to formally announce the winners of each division.

Eden said thanks to his dad Chris Hasson, who is also a lifelong surfer, he had plenty of footage to select from. He picked two clips shot at Samurai Beach in the past three months.

"We had heaps of little clips but the best one had a few good turns. That one clip stood out," Eden said.

His selection worked in his favour with Eden placing second in the under-16 boys division, just .05 behind winner Harry O'Brien from Lennox Head. However, Eden did earn the highest wave score of his event - 8.57 out of 10.

"I was pretty pumped with that," Eden said. "I was up against a lot of older surfers so to come second gives me a lot of confidence. I am really happy to get the highest scoring wave."

Eden Hasson in action. Picture: Darren Anderson Photography

Eden Hasson in action. Picture: Darren Anderson Photography

Another honourable mention went to Jimmi Hill, also from Boat Harbour, who was recognised for having the best turn in the under-14 boys event of the online titles.

Eden has been surfing for about four years but competitively for one. Last year Eden won two major events: the Newcastle regional titles and the King of the Box cadets division.

He also earned the Bay Area Boardriders' Rising Star Award. Eden said the award came with a prize, a new board, which he said he was "so happy" to receive.

The Bay boardrider, who admitted he started competitive surfing "late", kicked off the 2020 surf season, before the COVID-19 lockdown, strongly.

At the Port Stephens Toyota Surfest Wildcard Trials held at Birubi Beach in January he placed second in the under-16 and third in the under-14 events.

"I was pretty happy with those results for my first time competing in the trials," he said.

For now, while competitions are at a standstill, Eden said he has been surfing every day, sometimes twice a day to maintain his fitness. And also because he loves to surf.

"At the moment I am just having fun but trying to improve," he said, adding that one of his goals is to win a Rip Curl GromSearch competition.