Byron Bay young gun and Australian Junior Logger Champ Jye Whyatt, killing it at Kingscliff today. Pic: Luke Sorenson

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Amateur Program is under way at Kingscliff with metre-plus waves and organisers thrilled by another record turnout at the Australian Longboard Surfing Open.

With the professionals now in Papua New Guinea for the first round of the World Surf League Longboard Championship Tour, the Kumul PNG World Longboard Championships being held at Tupira from 18 - 25 March, local focus has turned to the best amateurs.

(Wednesday's Pro divisions were won by Australian and two-time world champion Harley Ingleby and rising Japanese stars Natsumi Taoka – see earlier PLB post.)

Said organizer Sean McKeown: "We had record numbers in the pro-division and entries in the other divisions are also well-up on previous years, with reserves," Sean said.

"Even in the amateurs, we've attracted surfers from Hawaii, the US, New Zealand, Brazil and Spain as well as a record number of entries from WA.

"This is a very inclusive event with surfers of all ages. We have a number of surfers 70 plus in the water over the three days while the youngest competitor is just 10 years old."

Sean said it wasn't all about being the best with a special event on Sunday aimed at raising money – and you don't even need to know how to surf.

"We are having a wacky wave competition on Sunday at 11.30am (NSW)– there is a $55 entry fee with all money going to Headspace," he said.

"Come dressed as wacky as you can for a chance to win one of two Volte Wetsuit vouchers worth $320. It's all about just getting in the water wearing fancy dress. Anyone can enter, it should be a lot of fun and is for a very good cause.

"Also on Sunday we will have the Gold Coast Mini Garage Classic Surf Vehicle Display. There is also a treasure hunt for the kids. There will be token's hidden on the beach for the Under 12s with Easter eggs up for grabs as well as prizes donated by our sponsors including board games, and Tshirts."

Surfing action today saw round one of the Scales Seafood 9ft Amateur, along with heats of the TCM Rentals Coastal over 40s, SUP 10ft, F-One Seafreaks/Manera Sup 10 ft, Abood Crane Trucks Over 60s, Logger, Kingscliff Fish Chips & Burgers 9ft women, Clearwater Surfboards 8ft open and the retro.

The only event which went to semi-final stage was the 9ft Amateur – which will have its finals at 10.30am right after the ever-popular Logger and Noserider events on Sunday.

The evening program after the surfing included two movies in the park from 6.30pm, Surfs Up for the kids and Blackwater.

The Longboard competition begins again tomorrow at 7am with a remembrance paddle out with surfers taking to the water from 7.30am.

In the water there will be heats of the Pacific Longboarder Over 50s, the Rip Curl Under 18, Noserider, Salty girls surf school Under 18, the sponsors competition and the Abood Crane Trucks Over 60s as well as the semi-finals of the Logger, Clearwater Surfboards 8ft Open and F-One Seafreaks/Manera Sup 10ft.

On land from 9am there will be an Old Board display with surf lessons from 10am. The bar will open at 2pm with the surfing due to end for the day at 4pm just in time for a full program of music from 4pm-9pm with something for everyone including performances from the Continentals, Max Murphy, Erin and Tom Avery.

Sunday surfing action begins again with all the finals being held starting with the 8ft open at 7.30 and culminating in the hotly contested over 70s at 2.30pm.

On the beach, activities start from 8.30am with Beach Activities for the Under 12s. The old board display will be held from 9am with the Gold Coast Mini Garage Classic.

The surfing action is expected to end at 3pm with the presentations being held at Kingscliff Hotel from 4pm.

 - report by Tania Phillips / ALSO

Australian Longboard Surfing Open is the only World Surf League sanctioned longboard event on Australia's east coast featuring some of the world's best longboard surfers. It honours the history of longboard surfing together with amateur divisions and specialty surfing, lives music, surf vehicle display, surf movies and more.


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