Tao to surf El Salvador for world champ tilt

Tao Mouldey in his element on the beach. Photo: Bob Tulloch/SunLive.

Up-and-coming local surfer Tao Mouldey hopes to leave competition in the white wash when he competes in the World Junior Surfing Championships this May in El Salvador.

The 14-year-old Mount local is quickly making a name for himself and has been surfing since he was four.

“I just saw the surf and I was like I want to try that out. So we went down to the surf shop and bought a little board, and since then I was into it.”

Tao hasn’t just been “into” surfing – it’s easy to say he has been killing it!

A humble fella, Jen Mouldey, Tao’s mum, shares just how well the young surfer is doing. 

“He’s been surfing extremely hard over the last few years travelling NZ and Australia for competitions and training, winning 13 national Surfing NZ competitions across the under-14 and under-16 divisions in the last year – and [he] placed first overall in NZ for both divisions.”

Tao also won the 2022 Billabong Grom series for the under-16 section and just returned from Dunedin, having won the South Island Championships.

Receiving regular coaching from Matt Scorringe of The Art of Surfing, and training weekly with Tauranga Boys’ College surf team, coached by Damien Galven, Tao is in top surfing shape.

When he found out that he’d made the team for the World Junior Surfing Championships, Tao says his reaction was “quite hard to describe”. “I was excited, nervous and just everything. It’s pretty cool.”

Darn right it’s cool – only the top three boys and girls who place in the under-16, and the under-18 divisions, make it into the national team to compete in the championships.

The competition itself hosts more than 340 surfers from 44 countries worldwide.

Tao already has Australia’s Sunshine Coast, and Hawaii’s famous waves in his surfing repertoire.

I asked him what his game plan is for when he hits the El Salvadorian surf?

“You can approach it in many ways – you can try get as much possible waves in a heat, or just wait for the good ones – it kind of depends what the break is,” says Tao.

Looking to the future, Tao says: “I reckon it would be pretty cool to make the Olympic team – that’s the end goal”.

Tao and his family are thankful to friends and family, the local community, businesses and Bay Boardriders that have helped to raise funds for his championship adventure so far. Tao leaves for El Salvador on May 21.

To support him, visit: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/please-support-mount-maunganui-local-tao-mouldey

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