Winners of the Westfield Kotara Triple 0 Challenge. ©Gary Luke Photography

Thursday, 21 February 2013

For the 10th consecutive year, surfers from the NSW Fire and Rescue Service have again fired up to defeat the NSW Police Force and the Ambulance Service of NSW at the Westfield Kotara Triple O Challenge at Surfest, Newcastle Australia.

A field of more than 50 competitors from the three agencies renewed old friendships both in-and-out of the water at Dixon Park But there was a strong spirit of competition underpinning the entire day. "It's good fun and there was plenty of waves going around," said Ralph Smith from Cardiff Fire Station.

Smith certainly found plenty of waves - he won both the over-40s longboard and shortboard divisions. "For us it's a good chance to get together with the guys from the other emergency service, the ambos and the police, and it's a chance to get together under different circumstances that are a lot more relaxed than when we usually meet," Smith said.

"This is such a fun contest. We only get to catch up with all the boys once or twice a year, and the Triple O Challenge gets us all together," ambulance officer Jay Rosetti said. Rosetti is stationed at Barraba, 90 kilometres north-west of Tamworth. He had to swap shifts to make it to the event but it was worth the trip - he took the crown in the under-40s longboard.

Centre Manager for Westfield Kotara Ryan Burns said the ongoing relationship between Westfield and Surfest's Triple O Challenge was rewarding on a number of levels. "The Triple O Challenge resonates with the participants and the community because it really is a fun day. The socialising opportunity for the staff from the different services is unique and provides an ideal break from the pressure they often find themselves under," said Mr Burns.

While surfing representatives of the services all love to get a win under their belts, the day provides an opportunity to socialise away from the pressures of the circumstances these protectors of the public often find themselves in. All competitors said they are looking forward to 2014 - but the other services might have to round up a few ring-ins if they are to break the vice-like ten-year grip of Fire and Rescue NSW from the Triple 0 Challenge trophy.

Triple O Challenge Tag Team
1.        Fire and Rescue NSW (47.5)
2.        Ambulance Service of NSW (32.7)
3.       NSW Police Force (25.6)

Under-40s Longboard
1.        Jay Rosetti (Ambulance Service NSW)
2.        Bryan Wall (Ambulance Service NSW)
3.        Dane Carr (NSW Police Force)
4.        Peter Greer (NSW Police Force)

Over-40s Longboard
1.        Ralph Smith (Fire and Rescue NSW))
2.        John Rotlet (Ambulance Service NSW)
3.        Todd Archer (Fire and Rescue NSW)     
4.        Brad Collins (Fire and Rescue NSW)

Under-40s Shortboard
1.         Justin Allport (Fire and Rescue NSW)
2.         Alex Cooney (NSW Police Force)
3.         Tim Doherty (Fire and Rescue NSW)
4.         Jay Rosetti (Ambulance Service NSW)

Over-40s Shortboard
1.          Ralph Smith (Fire and Rescue NSW))
2.         Rod Murray (Fire and Rescue NSW))
3.         Mick Gray (Ambulance Service NSW)
4.         Peter Bradbury (Fire and Rescue NSW)

The 2013 Surfest Newcastle Australia features the Burton Toyota Pro (Men's ASP 6-Star) and the Hunter Ports Women's Classic (Women's ASP 6-Star), along with eight supporting events. The event is made possible with the support of Burton Toyota, the Hunter Sports Sports Group, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Government through Destination NSW. Surfest Newcastle Australia is conducted over 12 days from February 13-24 at Merewether beach, a recognised Australian National Surfing Reserve.

Merewether is home to festival patron and Australia's most accomplished men's world professional surfing champion, four-time world champion Mark Richards (1979-82) and presents the winner a trophy in his likeness. 2013 marks the festival's 28th year and with over 800 national and international competitors, Surfest Newcastle Australia is the largest festival of surfing in the southern hemisphere. Get up-to-the minute updates, photos and interviews, as well as the program of events at; follow us on Facebook or Twitter and download the BOXT app from the App Store or Google Play (four digit code SURF).


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