RAINBOW Beach surfing sensation Noah Lane’s goal of reaching the world tour is closer to becoming reality.
Lane has been granted a wildcard entry into the Burton Toyota Pro event, which started yesterday at Merewether Beach in Newcastle.
The wildcard into the World Qualifying Series event was handed to Lane because of his outstanding performance on the junior tour last year. It means he won’t have to compete until the field of 112 has been cut to 64.
Lane said yesterday he was feeling fortunate to have been given his chance, but was also confident he would do well.
“I got an ASP (Australian Surfing Professionals) wildcard from the rating from last year’s juniors,” Lane said.
“I have got a good draw, so I am definitely confident I will do well. You have to go in believing you can do it, otherwise there’s no point competing.
“I did quite well last year at this event. I think I finished ninth, but I got through some hard heats.”
While a majority of his competitors were competing yesterday, Lane took the opportunity to relax, watch his rivals and even have a surf.
“There are plenty of waves other than the competition bank. You can also surf the comp bank before and after the day’s competition,” Lane said.
“I like the waves here. I have had good results here, so I guess it makes you a bit more confident when you are out there.
“The conditions are really good. The waves are only about two or three foot, and there’s not a cloud in the sky.
“The surf is meant to pick up a bit, which would be good.
“All the guys would prefer bigger waves. It can be very hard in the smaller stuff.”
The Newcastle event is scheduled to finish on Sunday, but there will be no resting for Lane.
He has been granted another wildcard entry, this time in the six-star Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River, which starts on Tuesday.
“This event (Merewether) is meant to finish on Sunday and then I fly over to Perth on Sunday night,” Lane said.
“Margaret River is a really big event. There is bigger prizemoney and more ratings points.”
Lane said he needed to keep achieving good results to not only fund his dream of competing around the world, but also to keep gaining entry into events.
“There is a real snowball effect on the WQS – the better your results are, the more events you can compete in.
“Also, travelling around gets expensive when you don’t have a major sponsor,” he said.
The WQS is one step below the professional tour, where the likes of Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning compete.
If Lane is able to continue getting top results he has a chance of qualifying for that tour.
“It is a lot of hard work, but that’s what you have to do if you want to have a crack at it,” he said.
“I have had a lot of help along the way, so I would like to thank my parents and my sponsors.”