Thrice finalist Liam Griggs-Kenelly from Vicco airing his toes at Kingscliff. ©Luke Sorensen


AUSTRALIAN LONGBOARD SURFING OPEN - FINALS DAY
Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Banora Point surfer Ian Pearson created the upset of the day in the 2017 Australian Longboard Surfing Open at Kingscliff on Sunday afternoon with a giant-killing win over local legend Ray Gleave.

Pearson won the Over 50s in a tight final with Tweed Coaster Tony Rae in second and Gleave finishing third in the 1.5-one metre conditions. "I'm the perennial bridesmaid," Pearson, who was also one of the commentators for the five-day event, laughed. "It is tough when you are in the same division as a legend like Ray Gleave, this is his home break – to beat him here is just amazing."

The other big upset came in the eight foot where David Lima's 12.83 put an end to another Kingscliff surfer's stranglehold on the event. Dean Bevan, who was looking for his third eight foot in a row, had to be satisfied with second, finishing the final with 10.6 points. But it wasn't all bad for the man known as Turbo with Bevan bouncing back to win the Over 40s with some solid waves, out surfing New Zealand's Dan Coskery with solid wave scores of 6.7 and 6.3. He finished with 13 points ahead of the Kiwi's 11.5.

However the surfer of the day was Victorian Liam Griggs-Kenelly competing in his final Australian Longboard Surfing open for a while.

Struggling with the heat and hydrating between every event Griggs-Kenelly featured in three finals during the day, winning the Nine Foot Amateur and the hotly contested Loggers event and finishing third behind Western Australian Ryan Egan and Dan Croskery of New Zealand in the Noserider.

"I'm buggered but it was good fun, all the boys that were in the nine-foot could have hassled me and given me a hard-time because I'd been out there for so long," the 20 year old Lorne-based surfer said.

"But it was good. Turbo said before the heat that by the final (of the nines) you'll dial it in, you'll know where to sit and he was right. There was a good bank out there – pity about the on-shore but there was a good bank. "This is my last year competing for a while, I'm taking up an apprenticeship in carpentry so I'll put my head down and get a qualification and come back to it when I get older.

"Talking to people like Josh Constable who shapes my boards and Greg Brown down in Victoria, he's in his 50s and he rips, he's beaten most of the pro-guys, he surfs so well – it really is a sport that as you mature, your surfing matures."

An emotional Griggs-Kenelly later dedicated his wins to his girlfriend's father in law who died the day before this year's event.

The highest scoring wave of the day came in the third last final when young Hawaiian surfer Mason Schremmer, 16, pulled out an 8.3 ride to secure the Nine Foot Woman's title. The oldest of the surfing Schremmer sisters proved too strong with Sarah Robertson finishing second, Kristy Best in third and her 10 year-old sister Scarlett in fourth.

It was Mason's second win of the day with the sisters from Honolulu finishing one two three in the Under 18 girls event. Mason took the title with 15-year-old sister Lola (who missed the nine foot final after breaking her board in the heat) finishing second and Scarlett taking the third spot.

The Under 18 boys event went to Noosa surfer Nick Brewer who had made the finals in the 18s, Logger and Nine foot to come away with a first, second and third respectively.
In other results, Paul Diver took the retro, Steve Morley the SUP 10ft and Neville Smith the 70s.

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.

Report by Tania Spiers-Phillips, ALSO Media Manager


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