There's no place like home for title contender
SURFING: He's travelled more kilometres in one quarter of a year than most boys his age could dream of doing in their lifetime to-date.
But all roads lead to home this weekend, when Noah Stocca prepares to surf in the Coast's first WSL-sanctioned Pro Junior event in years.
The Peregian Beach local is licking his lips at the thought of lining up in four-foot waves, generated by a continuing southerly swell on the Coast this weekend.
Likely venues for the two-day event are Coolum or Ann St (Currimundi) to escape the wind, which would suit Stocca down to the ground.
"I live just 2km up the road and surf Coolum a lot and have competed there a lot over the past couple of years,” he said.
Local knowledge could be an asset on Saturday and Sunday.
"I guess you try and pick the waves that don't close out straight away so you can get turns out the back,” he said.
"There's usually a gutter in the middle so you link up nice and smoothly and try to get a good finish on the inside.”
Stocca returned from the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach yesterday, where he was able to surf the famed Winki Pop break alongside some of his heroes - like fellow Coaster Julian Wilson and world champion John John Florence.
"They're all really nice guys and it really pushes my surfing,” he said.
"It's not intimidating but you've got to give them respect.”
His trip south follows a strenuous start to the year for the 17-year-old, who is amid his senior year at Coolum State High School.
He can't wait to tackle an event at his door-step.
"I think I surf at my best when I'm as relaxed as possible,” he said.
"It will be nice to see my friends and family down there watching.”
Stocca is coached by Kerry Keightly and Brad Lee, who also guides promising surfers Ellia Smith and fellow Peregian Beach brothers Toby and Connor Lyons.