Hawaiian Sierra Lerback, a two-time heat winner as First Point turns on the charm. Pic: @surfshotsnoosa / Noosa Festival fo Surfing

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Although several divisions had made their start over the weekend, Monday marked the commencement of start-to-finish surfing action.

Noosa turned on the charm, clear blue skies, crystal blue ocean and perfect, clean waves for the commencement of the day’s competition, with the World Surfaris Men’s 65 & Over first to enjoy the perfect conditions. Age is as nothing to these young-at-heart surfers, their continual passion keeping them sprightly beneath the greying hair.

Bruce Channon, always so dominant in competition, didn’t submit his reputation and the defending champion surfed a stunning heat for a convincing win. So too for Earle Page in heat two, with Phil Jarratt on fine form to take a second. WA’s Norm Bateman, last year’s bronze medalist also progressed to round three, with the reperchage round two scheduled for later in the day.

The Old Guys Rule Men’s 60 & Over was a similar return of familiar names, Ballina’s Eric Walker decimating his heat despite being 67 years young. Albie Curtis was also again a very strong contender, taking victory in his heat, and perennial Japanese festival attendee, Hiroaki Nakano was simply outstanding in round four.

While the waves were still superb, they became interspersed with long lulls, requiring much patience from the surfers in the Bear Surf Men’s 55 & Over, but Rod Dale, Paul Guthrie and Charlie O’Sullivan did well to wait it out and score the winning waves in their heats. Fourth finalist Gilles Fesselet played his heat to perfection, an early high score not matched until the dying minutes of the heat, taking Gilles from fourth to first in one swift, winning move.

It was a very similar story for all heats of the Women’s Pro division, an early set offering scoring opportunities no repeated until the last few minutes of each heat.

Sierra Lerback surfed with almost faultless style and finesse for an undisputed heat one victory, while Sunshine Coaster (and unusually, one of the division’s few Australians) waited for three quarters of the heat in sixth place without a single wave ridden. The wait was worth it, and She sailed straight past her rivals for the win, just ahead of talented young Hawaiian, Kelis Keleopa’a.

Kirra Seale was unstoppable in heat three, fellow Hawaiian, Lola Schremmer doing well to keep up for a second, and in the final heat of round one, US Under 18 champion, Soleil Errico just tipped an on-form Rosie Jaffurs for a first place.

The Logger Pro, though a little wave-starved, was a showcase of some of the finest traditional-style longboarding on the planet, a ten-heat extravaganza of classic logging. The ten heats offered far too many exceptional moments to reflect upon here, but amongst them, Dane Wilson surfed confidently for a heat one win, as did 2015 Logger champion, Samuel Crookshanks.

Kai Annetts, one of the younger competitors, showed much promise with a second place, while Alex Bullpitt reflected fellow Sunshine Coaster Kathryn Hughes’ performance, appearing to have let the heat pass him by, until two excellent late waves awarded him a second.

Justin Healey caught the first wave of his heat, ridden almost perfectly for a 9.5 score, backing it up as the final horn sounded for a huge win. The final heat of the Logger Pro’s first round saw Kaimana Takayama simply dominate, everyone surfing incredibly well, but Takayama in a league of his own. Again, few waves ridden, but those that were were made to count.

The reperchage round two filled out the spots for Wednesday’s third round, with the Women’s Pro wrapping up the day’s excitement in the water. A strong Hawaiian field saw defending champion, Honolua Blomfield in absolutely sensational form, Lola Schremmer claiming second to progress to the semis, while Sierra Lerback was again surfing brilliantly, followed by Lola’s younger sister, Mason.

Light fading too fast, heat four would have to wait until tomorrow, with the final two semis spots being decided first thing in the morning.

A rare treat was offered to evening guests at the XXXX Summer Beach Bar, with the legendary Peter ‘PT’ Townend ‘On the Couch’ in conversation with the equally legendary Bob Cooper. Bob numerous years PT’s senior, the discussion explored Cooper’s first steps on a board, the evolution of his skills both as a surfer and shaper growing up in America and his emigration to Noosa shores in the 60s, when surfing was shared by barely five surfers on our now famed and populated point waves.

Harrison Roach and filmmaker Andy Gough presented their stunning new collaboration, a short film titled Black Rain, Harrison’s incredible talent in the surf reflected by Gough’s equal talent behind the lens.

The ‘Life is Better When You Surf’ Short Film Festival concluded the night, an entertaining collection of sub-ten-minute creations taking Day Three to a sedate close.
An incredible day of stoke and surfing action that will be matched tomorrow, with the Indulge Women’s Open Amateur, the Okanui Old Mal and the world-renowned Golden Breed Noserider divisions among a host of excellent events.

For more information on the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing, please visit: www.noosafestivalofsurfing.com

 - report by Tommy Leitch NFOS


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