I met Sarsha Pancic a while back when covering a story on the Hurley surf clinic at Gunnamatta for Mornington Peninsula Magazine. The breaks were fierce that day as this tiny Blairgowrie bombshell lunged and squatted head-first into the eye of the churning waves without fear. Fast-forward and our paths have crossed again as this self-described “salty-haired grom” continues to grow and get better at what she loves to do most — surf.
With dreams of becoming a pro surfer like Sally Fitzgibbons or Stephanie Gilmore and travelling the world to “awesome places like the World Surfing League surf ranch in the States, France, Fiji and the Maldives”, this svelte 12-year-old has the surfing world at her strong and capable feet. She’s ready. Just watch her flow.
“I grew up surfing in Western Port Bay and Point Leo with my family. Now I love surfing at local breaks and Jan Juc on the west coast. I’m a member of the Torquay Boardriders Club and was under-12 girls’ champion last year. I also do gymnastics. I want to qualify for the Victorian Junior Surfing team and represent Victoria at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles,” she explains. Why not? She already competes in the national Rip Curl Grom Search, which is a series of events designed to find the most talented surfing grommets across the globe. This competition runs in 10 countries and has more than 5000 competitors worldwide. In 2018 Sarsha gained impressive results across three of the five events held so far, coming third twice and winning the event on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia in the 12 and under girls. This means she’s secured a spot at the national final, which will be held in January near Wollongong.
She continues. “I love connecting to nature and surfing with my family and friends. I want to keep learning and improving and am lucky to have the support from people who are close to me, like my dad, brother, uncle and grandfather.” Torquay Boardriders Club president and Surfing Victoria high-performance coaching director Cahill-Bell Warren, Bass Surfboards owner Craig Watson, Balin Surfers Hardware owner Jon Wilson and surfer Nick Wallace are all on board too, making sure she gets the direction she needs to achieve her dreams.
From jumping on a board at three years of age to participating in the Torquay Boardriders Club competitions, Victorian junior surfing titles and the Woolworths Surfer Groms Comp, as well as the Rip Curl GromSearch in 2019, this Padua College Year 7 student who was awarded St Joseph’s Primary School’s highest school sporting award in 2017 — The John McCarthy Memorial Award — is beach and water-crazy. “It’s where I like to be most. I was awarded the role of Dolphin Research Institute I Sea, I Care ambassador last year too.”
Watch this space. This hot chip-loving tween who reckons it would be ace to be a bird is ready to spread her wings and surf the line.