Californian and 2016 PLB Junior Champ Hudson Ritchie in the Golden Breed Noserider, dangling those pinkies right back in the lip where they ought to be. Pic: @surfshotsnoosa / Noosa Festival of Surfing

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Today marked the turn of the tide, the swell slowly creeping its way up from the previous few during the afternoon.

Early heats Ė the GJ Gardner Homes Menís 40 & Over and the Laguna Real Estate Menís Open Ė enjoyed the lower tide waves, surfers collecting long rides almost to the dry sands of Main Beach.

Dan Croskery and Craig Davies were standouts in the 40 & Over, with Noosa Malibu Club member, Ossie Arikan also taking a heat win, generating plenty of speed off the point to make it through the faster outside section onto the clean face that continued to wall up all the way through. Steve Wright was unlucky to barely miss out to qualifier, Ryan Chelman, with wave selection critical to maximise point scores, the more patient surfers reaping the benefits.

Nic Jones blitzed heat one of the Laguna Real Estate Menís Open Ams, the local in superb form. Japanese surfer Yonemoto did well to stave off Josh Berigan and Hawaiiís Johnny Pitzer for the heat two win.

Kaimana Takayama was again unstoppable in the penultimate heat of the division, riding one of the boards shaped by his father, Michael and carefully transported all the way from California. Showing style and confidence, coupled with superb wave knowledge, he accumulated a strong tally from his two highest scoring waves to progress directly to round three.

It was great to see Keoki Saguibo claim the final win of the round, the Hawaiian suffering a near-fatal wipeout last year on a remote break in Nias. Now fully recovered, we are thankful to see him back here in Noosa, fit and healthy.

And then came one of the Noosa Festivalís most iconic and renowned divisions: the Golden Breed Noserider Pro. Tide turned and flooding in, the wave size was rapidly on the decline, but the talented toe-hangers were unfazed. The Noseriders are scored on the time spent hanging five or ten, scored on the seconds held, that time doubled with both feet on the nose.

Surfing back-to-back heats, Kaimana Takayama showed his versatility, switching boards and immediately getting to work and posting an early high score that was backed up for a second place, Sean Keany taking a decimating win with the roundís second-highest score.

Noseriding opportunities diminished with the wave height, but the infrequent sets were still offering potential. Soleil Errico, one of the few girls in the male-dominated division, surfed superbly, falling on the first couple of her allotted five waves, but making up for it, utilising her feminine grace to the fullest to post a satisfying score and placing a qualifying seventh overall.

Pat Saunders started strong, but was challenged to find another wave of consequence until the dying minutes, posting a second high score to take third place in the round and progress to the second round.

In the last heat of the Noserider, Sunshine Coaster Bowie Pollard seemed to have Velcro on his feet and a lead weight on the tail of his board spending a combined 45 seconds on the nose of his board on a single wave, much with ten piggies dangling from the nose. His two-wave tally of 77.0 gave him a convincing win.

Offering First Point to their seniors, younger competitors made way for the senior divisions and the Kennards Menís 50 & Over paddled out. Hayden Swan was on familiarly fine form to take the divisionís first win, with locals Glen Gower and Wally Allan also placing first, joined by Chris Bate in progressing directly to round three.

Reperchages of the Old Guys Rule Menís 60 & Over, Bear Surf Menís 55 & Over, GJ Gardner Menís 40 & Over and Kennards Menís 50 & Over followed, a do-or-die second opportunity to fill the remaining few spots waiting in round three.

Last surfing of the day was on the antiquated equipment of the Okanui Old Mal division. Only open to boards dating back to pre-1968, most of the vessels were significantly older than their riders. Harrison Roach, such a master of the board designs of the 60s era, was sensational, making the riding of these heavily-glassed, less refined surfboards seem almost too easy, but unable to match the stellar performance of Jared Mell. Young Gus OíMalley surfed brilliantly against peers a decade his senior to claim the last qualifying spot of heat one.

Talented local shaper and logger Thomas Bexon did well to hold off Jack Norton, the pair both advancing. And it was a surprise upset in heat three to see Roisin Carolan out-perform McTavish team mate and one of the finest contemporary traditional loggers, Matt Chojnacki.

Jordan Spee, who we have seen come of age here at the festival, has fulfilled the promise he has always shown, and the final heat of the day was his to claim.

Afternoon on the beach was given to the next generation of beach-goers, the Nine Sunshine Coast Beach Pavilion hosting an afternoon of childrenís entertainment, Noosa Civic presenting a well-attended and hugely popular sandcastle building competition. The young architects went to work and a very happy winner took first prize for their hard work.

Former pro-longboarder Lucas Proudfoot rounded out the daytime activities with his Circular Rhythm show, an indigenous cultural performance for the under-12s, with a happy and excited crowd of kids bopping on the sand as the sun slowly set.

Returning to the Noosa Festival once more, Band of Frequencies took to the Zinc Stage to present a couple of excellent tracks written for the score of Phil Jarratt and Shaun Cairnsí award-winning documentary, ĎMen of Wood & Foamí, before handing the entertainment over to the silver screen for a very special screening of the movie, enjoyed by all.

Back on the stage, the Band of Frequencies energised the rapt crowd with a collection of their own blues-funk songs. Sitting still is impossible when the ĎFreqsí take to the stage and not a toe in the house was left un-tapping.

And so concluded another brilliant day of Pure Stoke.
For more infor on the Laguna Real Estate Noosa Festival of Surfing, please visit the website

-    report by Tommy Leitch / NFOS


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