Blueys Beach, welcomed some of the best Bodyboarders from the top clubs in Australia today, along with international guests, as the Jeff Wilcox Memorial got underway for the first time in nine years.
Making their presence felt in the Great Lakes, were visitors Ali Khushruwan from the Maldives, Jones Russel, (Port Macquarie) and Alex McAlpine, (The Entrance). Russell’s laid-back demeanor followed through to his effortless surfing, taking second place in his open mens heat knocking out local rider, Tom Ditchfield and Wollongong legend Thomas Beck.
Looking for an opportunity to show his skills, Kuhushruwan made the most of the challenging conditions and busted out some solid Maneuvers. The Maldivian rider has returned to Australia after competing as a guest in the 2012, NSW, titles, bringing with him three fellow riders on the Maldivian team.
Kuhushruwan won his heat in the opening mens and moves into the round 2, along with a star studded lineup; Dane Woods, (Stanwell Park), South Australian, Marshall Watson, (Hayborough), Heydon Bunting, (Cronulla), Pascoe Jennings, (Mona Vale), Jase Finlay, (Wollongong) and Chase O’Leary, (Port Macquarie).
By the afternoon a few more sections opened up, making for solid competitive conditions for the Drop Knee division. Local and past Jeff Wilcox competitor Adam Cheers, nailed the days first 10.00 point ride. Taking a well-timed opportunity to grab a 4-foot barrel, Cheers Drop Knee skills solidified a deserved first place and put him into the semi final.
Putting the improved conditions to good use, was local Drop Knee rider Thomas Donnelly. The consistent 4 foot waves saw Donnelly win his heat progressing through with International bodyboarders, Josh Cleave, (South Africa) and Jake Minneham, (California).
The strong junior division contingent not only provided good surfing, but gave the young riders a great opportunity to undertake training with world class educators, Haydon “Da Boogie Man” Bunting and ex World tour surfer Darren O’Rafferty.
Bunting led three coaching and development sessions with Jase Finlay and Ewan Donnachie, concentrating on nurturing the skills of the younger riders and mentoring them, as they make their way through the developmental stages of Bodyboarding.
“One of the major things that is missing from Bodyboarding is mentoring at club level, these kids have great style and posture, it is a matter of building their confidence and the young riders understanding that it is more than catching waves”, said Bunting.
“Jase and Ewan know how important it is to spend time with these guys and give them the opportunity to surf with them, the response we received from everyone was amazing. Just observing others surfers, watching their techniques and having good understanding of the ocean is very important”, said Bunting.
Continuing the education into the afternoon with a free Surfers rescue 24/7 course, was ex world tour surfer Darren O’Rafferty. A lot of surfers are responsible for thousands of unsung rescues and Surfing NSW has provided the CPR and board rescue course to all competitors.
Making the most of the challenging conditions in the juniors, was young Entrance rider Alex McAlpine, setting a high standard with a total heat score of 52 out of a possible 60. Wowing the judges after a head dip and reverse, McApline competed a huge roll off the end section to secure his place in round 2 with Hugh MacPhail, (Monavale).
The afternoon swell picked up, wrapping up opening rounds for Opening Mens, Juniors and Drop Knee divisions.
The event is proudly supported by: Bellevue Hotel, Great Lakes Tourism, Ditchfield Contracting, Science, Gyroll, MS Vipers, Forster Beach Caravan Park , Shane Chalker Photography , Craig Tracey Productions , Corecom, Dropknee magazine, Da Boogie Man, Manta, 4Play, Scotty Fantini Photography, Golden Age Media, First National Forster Tuncurry, Rezilient IT, Jungle Surf, Grand Flavour, Saxbys Schweppes, Cut Loose Hairdressers, Bodyboard Surf Co, Otterbox, NCAC, Wagner Painting , Colleen's Bakery, No Bull Gourmet Meats, Get Hooded
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