The iconic Yallingup mainbreak hosted the event. ©M8 Photography
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Large surf and strong winds made the going tough for a record number of entrants competing at the opening event of the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) State Longboard and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Titles held over the weekend. Despite the challenging conditions, the iconic and time-honored Yallingup Mainbreak hosted some of WA's best longboard and SUP talent contesting a total of eighteen different divisions.
Strong crowds were on hand to witness the action and 'stoke' of the festival style atmosphere the HIF Longboard and SUP Titles are famous for producing. The weekend did not disappoint spectators or officials as the preliminary heats saw competitors tear the messy peaks at Yallingup to pieces.
In the wind swept tricky four to six feet surf, it was South-West locals who showed their knowledge of the break, with surfers from Yallingup and Margaret River shinning the brightest over the two day competition.
The blue ribbon Open Menís final saw competitors tenacious in their efforts to impress the judges in the rough and wild conditions. Correct wave selection the key to success during the finals and Mandurah's Nic Jenkins was extremely selective catching just two waves on his way to victory. Jenkins opened with a heat high score of 7.00 (from a possible 10) and never looked back, he went on to score a 6.25 to finish with a combined total of 13.25 points (from a possible 20).
The goofy footer rose to the occasion using the long walling lefthanders to complete fast, fluid and powerful manoeuvres that saw Jenkins take his first ever Open Men's victory ahead of Yallingup local Brett Mason, with Ryan Clark (Kinross) in third ahead of Denmark's Mike Nuenuebel in fourth.
"This is a great feeling to have won, I've been doing these events for a while now and to taste victory in this division is surreal." Said Jenklins.
"I only caught two waves and spent the rest of the heat just paddling, it was tough work out there." He continued.
Multiple State and National Champion Claire Finucane (Melville) put on a gutsy performance to take the coveted Open Womenís crown. Following Jenkins theory Finucane caught just two waves to secure her victory over current National Women's Champion Georgia Young (Swanbourne) in second, Lucy Small (Denmark) finished in third ahead of Samantha Vanderford (Scarborough) in fourth.
ďIt was hard going out there, but I feel great. It's a credit to all the girls who went out there in those conditions, especially the juniors." Said Finucane who also took out the O/35 Women's final. As the swell continued to build broken boards and bruised ego's were on display, but the weekend was highlighted by some great individual performances including that of first time competitor, Karl Leavy (Yallingup).
Leavy came into the event as an unknown and needing to burrow a board to compete, the Yallingup local pulled off a hard-fought victory in an entertaining O/35 Menís final and backed it up by topping a star-studded list of competitors in the O/40 Men's too.
"I just love the wave here at Yallingup and really enjoy surfing it." Said Leavy. "Thanks to Brett for lending me the board and to everyone that has come down to support the event." He continued.
Leavy scored an excellent 8.00 ride in the O/40 Men's to snatch victory from Neil Thompson (Scarborough), Bill Gibson (Margaret River) and Jason Weeks (Lancelin). While in the O/35's final his heat high 6.00 ride was enough to secure his win from Jarrah Clader (Como), Adam Le Cornu (Ocean Reef) and Steve Becker (Palmyra). In other results from the weekend, Tony Turner (Golden Bay) won the O/45 Men's final, with Margaret River's Ray Barker just edging out Brett Merifield (Yallingup) in a close finish in the O/50 Legends final.
The fitness levels of some of the event stalwarts were tested as Bill Gibson (Margaret River) took out the O/55 Men's event, while Stan Davies (Daglish) won the O/60 Men's and Dave Ellis (Busselton) winning the O/65's. Hugh Mitchell (Lancelin) won the U/21 Pro Junior and the U/18 Junior Boys divisions in a dominant display that will have him challenging in the Open Men's division soon.
Having ridden a wave of popularity, across the globe, over the past decade, stand-up paddleboarding has etched its way firmly into the sphere of competitive and recreational surfing, solidifying itself as a permanent part of WA State level competition. The hybrid discipline, which takes inspiration from surfing, skiing, wakeboarding and skateboarding, continues to rapidly evolve and grow in popularity with a record number of competitors taking part in the event in a range of new divisions.
Former world wave sailing champion Scott McKercher (Margaret River) proved he has still got the skills as he ripped up the Open Men's SUP final. McKercher beat Rick Jakovich (Gracetown) by less than one point in an ultra close finish. 2012 State SUP Champion Jake Jakovich (Gracetown) finished third ahead of Phil Berry (Margaret River) in fourth.
"I'm blown away to be standing here ahead of some great competitors. I've been to a lot of big Windsurfing events over the years and it's great to know how good things are run here in WA." McKercher said.
In other SUP results, Tim Fraser (Margaret River) won the O/40 Men's SUP, Tim Calder (Dunsborough) won the O/50 Men's SUP, Amanda Griffiths (Cottesloe) won the Open Women's SUP, while Ben Tardrew (Osbourne Park) won the 'Battle of the Paddle' from Smith's to Yallingup in just over 17 minutes.
After a hugely successful start to the 2013 HIF State Longboard and SUP Titles, all eyes are now turned towards round two of competition which will head south to Denmark on the 4th Ė 5th May. The event is set to showcase the surf rich south coast with competitors hopeful the location serves up some quality surf. For more information on this event or any other surfing event in WA be sure to contact Surfing WA on (08) 9448 0004 or jump online at surfingwa.com.au
The HIF Longboard & SUP Titles are presented by SunSmart and proudly supported by Forte Hospitality, Sticky Feet Wax, Stand-Up Surf Shop, Starboard, Kresta & Surfing WA.
HIF LONGBOARDB & SUP TITLES ROUND 1 RESULTS:
1. Nic Jenkins (Mandurah), 2. Brett Mason (Yallingup), 3. Ryan Clark (Kinross), 4. Mike Nuenubel (Denmark).
1. Claire Finucane (Melville), 2. Georgia Young (Swanbourne), 3. Lucy Small (Denmark), 4. Samantha Vanderford (Scarborough).
Open Men SUP:
1. Scott McKercher (Margaret River), 2. Rick Jackovich (Gracetown) , 3. Rick Jackovich (Gracetown), 4. Phil Berry (Margaret River).
U21 Pro Junior:
1. Hugh Mitchell (Lancelin), 2. Ben Teague (Margaret River), 3. Evan Ledger (Cottesloe).
Under 18 Girls:
1. Izzy Marchetti (Mullaloo), 2. Denver Young (Cottesloe).
Under 18 Boys:
1. Hugh Mitchell (Lancelin), 2. Evan Ledger (Cottesloe), 3. Zac Arena-Foster (South Fremantle).
Over 35 Men:
1. Karl Leavy (Yallingup), 2. Jarrah Calder (Como), 3. Adam Le Cornu (Ocean Reef), 4. Steve Becker (Palmyra).
Over 35 Women:
1. Claire Finucane (Melville), 2. Sam Vanderford (Scarborough).
Over 40 Men:
1. Karl Leavy (Yallingup), 2. Neil Thompson (Scarborough), 3. Bill Gibson (Margaret River), 4. Jason Weeks (Lancelin).
O40 Men SUP:
1. Tim Fraser (Margaret River), 2. Phil Berry (Margaret River), 3. Wes Stansfield (Fremantle), 4. Gordon Vernon (Dunsborough).
Over 45 Men:
1. Tony Turner (Golden Bay), 2. Doug Carruthers (Margaret River), 3.Richard Wain (Yallingup), 4. Lou Corkill (Yallingup).
Over 50 Men:
1. Ray Barker (Margaret River), 2. Brett Merifield (Yallingup), 3. Tony Turner (Golden Bay), 4. Richard Wain (Yallingup).
O50 Men SUP:
1. Tim Calder (Dunsborough) , 2. Gordon McKercher (Mosman Park), 3. Lach Simpson (Bicton), 4. Russell Ward (South Fremantle).
Over 55 Men:
1. Bill Gibson (Margaret River), 2. Tony Harrison (Albany), 3. Kim Hardeman (Scarborough), 4. George Micallef (Meriwa).
Over 60 Men:
1. Stan Davies (Daglish), 2. George Micallef (Meriwa), 3.Nigel Coote (Yallingup), 4. Mick Marlin (Dunsborough).
Over 65 Men:
1. Dave Ellis (Busselton).
SUP Battle of the Paddle:
1. Marcus Tardrew (Osbourne Park) 17mins and 7 sec, 2. Cam McKay (Waterman's Bay), 3. Michelle England (Scarborough), 5. Gordon Stimson (City Beach).