It's not every day Northland teens get to surf against World Champions.
But for Whangarei's Billie Scott, that dream became a reality at the recent Backdoor BayBash held in Hawke's Bay.
Coming up against Junior World Champion surfer Ella Williams (Whangamata), who is back in New Zealand after a stint abroad surfing the World Qualifying Series, Whangarei surfer Scott said the opportunity to surf against one of the world's best was "quite surreal".
"Ella is someone who has inspired me and many other female surfers," Scott said.
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"Running down the beach for my heat with her seemed quite surreal, but once we hit the water she was just another competitor."
Adding to her 2015 National Scholastic Surfing Championships fourth placing in the under-16 girls' division final, Scott made it through to the GromBash Open Women's final, along with Bianca Sansom (Auckland) and Britt Kindred (Muriwai).
The 16-year-old surfed hard all weekend against the best female surfers in the country, getting through the early rounds of the under-20 and open women's events, and even took out current New Zealand circuit leader Gabriella Sansom in her open semifinal.
"This is only my second year on the NZ junior circuit so my main focus has been to improve my surfing to catch up to the high level of competition. I have three more years in the NZ junior circuit so I would love to get to the top of my divisions and then see how I go from there," Scott said.
"My next big contest is the NZ Nationals in Dunedin next January  so I am training hard and keeping fit. Hopefully we get good waves this summer so I can up my level before next season."
Other Northland surfers at the event included Matt McGregor (under-20 boys), Max Brunker (under-14 boys), New Zealand Primary School Boys Champion Tom Robinson (under-17 boys and under-14 boys) and Fraser Falconer (under-20 boys and under-17 boys).
Sandy Bay's Manu Scott-Arrieta and Mimiwhangata's Paul Moretti didn't contest the event.