Jake stuns rivals on the big stage
For anyone who’s ever seen Geraldton veteran Deon Hagan surf, it should come as no surprise his son Jake is a gun in the water.
The 13-year-old is proving a force to be reckoned with, dominating the local contest scene and making waves at a State and national level.
As well as being crowned the Geraldton Board Riders 2018 Cadets Champion, he turned heads at both 2018 Surfing WA State rounds, finishing second at Margaret River and first in Geraldton.
A fortnight ago, he finished third in the 14-and-under boys event in the Taj (Burrows) Small Fries title at Yallingup.
Jake’s efforts in 2018 earned him a spot in the State under-14s team, which travelled to South Australia to compete in the Australian Junior Titles last month.
Shrugging off the nerves, he progressed as far as the semifinals, finishing sixth among Australia’s elite junior surfers.
“I was nervous but I just played my own game and didn’t think about that,” the humble youngster said.
“I was challenged and it forced me to push my boundaries.”
Jake said the experience made him even hungrier to perform. But it was also a chance to meet other top juniors from across the country and form bonds with his WA teammates.
And it was a proud moment for Deon, who in the late 1980s travelled to South Australia as an up-and-coming junior to compete in the same event.
“I think it was 30 years or something since I was there for WA, when I was 16 or 17,” Deon said.
The 46-year-old — who still competes locally and was last year dubbed the Geraldton Board Riders Masters Champ — had his own competitive streak in his youth.
“I made the State team 10 years in a row, got in magazines, went on boat trips and stuff,” he said.
“But my best result was what Jake just did — reaching the semis.
“Jake was the underdog, no one knew him. And then all of a sudden he started getting through heats, and people were like, ‘hang on, who’s this kid from WA?”
Now a slaughterman at a family abattoir, Deon regularly surfs with Jake and daughter Shekya — who is no slouch on the board either.
The 14-year-old placed well in club events last season and was the 2017 Geraldton Board Riders under-14 champion.
“It’s her passion, she just loves the ocean,” Deon said.
Of course, the same could be said of Jake, who has been surfing for most of his life.
“I think I started surfing when I started to walk — I can’t remember,” he said.
“Every day I try to surf, before and after school.”
For now, the determined Nagle Catholic College student — who also enjoys humanities and football — has his sights firmly set on a career in professional surfing.
“That’s my dream and goal but I’ll just see how it goes,” he said.
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