Styling 17-year-old Tully White from Manly rolled four-time Whalebone Women’s Champ Georgia Young in the closest result of the day. Pics: WSL/SurfingWA/Majeks


WILD & WOOLY WHALEBONE, DAY ONE - WRAP & PHOTOS
Saturday, 8 July 2017

Cottesloe, West Oz: The 20th Annual Whalebone Longboard Classic commenced under grey skies, with stormy conditions challenging some of Australia’s best longboarders.

Conditions couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the illustrious field of male and female competitors who converged on Isolators Reef to contest the opening rounds of the World Surf League (WSL) LQS1000.

Surfers battled through periods of heavy rain and cool onshore winds, with lumpy and bumpy 2-3 feet swells. In true spirit of The Whalebone, the weather cleared and the surf improved a little, with men’s and women’s semifinalists decided after an enthralling opening day of competition.

WA’s Jack Medland found the conditions to his liking, powering through the unruly seas with ease. Medland won the opening heat of the morning, before taking down Victoria’s Ben Considine in the man-on-man quarterfinals. Medland scored a 7.75 and backed it up with a 7.00, to finish with a two-wave total of 14.75 (from a possible 20).

“I prefer the conditions like this to be honest, there’s a bit more opportunity out there when it’s like this and the waves have a bit more push behind them,” said Medland. “I love surfing off the tail of my board and it feels nice to wet the rail on such a big board.”

Medland will take on NSW’s Dean Bevan (Kingscliff), who also looked in fine form despite the testing conditions. Bevan took down the event’s number one seed, Jared Neal (Coffs Harbour) on his way to a berth in the semifinals. Surfing with great speed and flow, Bevan posted a 7.10 and a 6.90 to finish with a combined total of 14.00 and was clearly wrapped with his performance today at Isolators.

“That was a do-or-die heat for me, I’ve been doing the WSL Longboard Tour for a while now and I put it all on the line out there trying to qualify for the World Championships next year,” said Bevan. “I surf a lot of onshore conditions at home through the summer, but to be through to the semis keeps the dream alive for me that bit longer.”

Jack Entwistle (Manly) will take on WA’s Anthony Spencer (Trigg) in semifinal two, after taking down fellow NSW surfer Michael Cottier in his quarterfinal. Entwistle looked on song as conditions begun to improve, using strong rail turns and graceful footwork to post the highest two-wave combination of the day, 17.05 (out of a possible 20), which included an 8.75 and 8.30.

“It’s always great to come over to WA and I’m stoked to be here to celebrate the Whalebone’s 20th anniversary,” said Entwistle. “I heard the wind and rain all night and thought that we’d be in for a tough day, but the waves were actually pretty fun out there and I’m stoked to dropped some good scores.”

In the women’s draw, 17-year-old Tully White (Manly) caused a massive upset by defeating local favourite and four times Whalebone Classic Champion Georgia Young (Swanbourne) in the closest result of the day. Just 0.8 separated the pair when the final siren sounded, giving White a massive confidence boost going into tomorrow’s semifinals.

“Georgia was surfing really well and the conditions were really tricky so I was just wrapped to get a couple of waves,” said Tully. “This is my first time to WA and so far so good, I had some fun free surfs and looks like conditions will improve for the rest of the event.”

Japan’s Natsumi Taoka will take on Queensland’s Kathryn Hughes in semi final two, after the pair moved through with classy performances today.

“This is my first time to Western Australia and with no longboard competitions in Japan until September I thought I should come here,” said Taoka. “Last year I finished 9th at the World Championships and I really want to surf in that competition once again.”

The wintery conditions did not deter a crowd from attending - a cosy beach marquee filled with tunes as well as food, coffee, and surf gear from local vendors keeping punters warm and dry as they soaked up the cheery vibes synonymous with the Whalebone Classic.

Crowds are expected to swell over the weekend with Saturday set to bring offshore winds and plenty of sunshine, making for more ideal surf conditions for the amateur divisions followed by the WSL LQS semifinals.

 - REPORT BY TOM BENNETT / WSL

ABOUT THE WHALEBONE: The Whalebone Classic started in 1998 when Peter Dunn was diving off Isolators Reef came across what he first thought was an elephant tusk, and then soon realised it was actually a whalebone, and decided to start the surfing event.



Men’s top seed Jared Neal from Coffs Harbour (who’s consistently finished in the WSL World top ten for many years) went down to a firing and pretty chuffed Dean Bevan.
Dean Bevan loving the conditions – just like an on-shore day at his home break Kingscliff in northern NSW.
WA’s Jack Medland won the opening heat of the morning before taking down Victoria’s Ben Considine in the man-on-man quarters.
Manly’s Jack Entwistle breezed through and will now match up with WA’s Anthony Spencer in semifinal two. Pics: WSL/SurfingWA/Majeks

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