Dane Pioli taking the Open Men’s, and rolling current World Champ Taylor Jensen on the way. Pic: Luke Sorensen
Current World and ALSO Champ Honolua Blomfield. Pic: Luke Sorensen
2016 Women’s World Longboard Champion Tory Gilkerson. Pic: Luke Sorensen
Men’s runner-up Jack Entwistle. Pic: Luke Sorensen
Ray Gleave on his way to a double. Pic: Luke Sorensen
20 March 18
Kingscliff, NSW/AUS (March 3) - Honolua Blomfield (HAW) and Dane Pioli (AUS) took out the Open Men’s and Women’s divisions at the Australian Longboard Surfing Open, World Surf League Longboard Qualification Series event in Kingscliff.
Current Women’s World Longboard Champion Blomfield met former World Champion Tory Gilkerson (USA) in the Final of the Cancer Institute NSW Women’s LQS event. It was the first time the two met in a head to head heat and it was the 19-year-old Hawaiian that came out on top winning with a 14.10 (out of 20) heat total.
“We’ve actually never gone head-to-head,” Blomfield said “Tory is a really amazing surfer, this is our first time in a heat against each other. I have been coming here for three years and this is my first final here and my first win it feels so amazing. I always try to catch the first wave to keep my confidence and I did, then I just got on a roll.”
“Tory wasn’t really catching the good waves and I just kind of found them,” Blomfield continued. “But she is an amazing surfer I was really scared coming into this heat because she’s so awesome. I didn’t really have a plan. The waves are so hard out there - anyone could have won I guess I just tried my best.”
In the Volte Wetsuits Men’s LQS Final, Coolangatta native Pioli came up against Byron Bay local Jack Entwistle. Pioli got off to an impressive start in the challenging conditions, posting 7.33 (out of a possible 10) in the opening minutes and then just a few minutes later he picked up an 8.67 – which proved to be the winning wave of the 30-minute heat. Pioli finished the heat with a 16.00 heat total to take his fourth Australian Longboard Surfing Open title.
“I was so nervous I don’t know why I’ve done so many of these but maybe it was a good thing I was nervous,” Pioli said. “I got the first wave, I knew it was a decent score but because it was early in the heat I didn’t know if they were going to go into the sevens, then I got that seven. I paddled straight back out and then Jack missed one so I ended up on the inside and that wave of the heat came and there wasn’t another one after it. I made the most of it. I was hoping to get into the nines but I got an 8.67 - I knew it was a good one.”
“There was no point hassling Jack because we’re mates so I let him go and if anything come I would have let him have it but unfortunately for him, nothing came but it was fortunate for me and I got the win.,” Pioli continued.
- REPORT FROM THE WSL, BY TOM BENNETT
FINALS REPORT & RESULTS – by ALSO’S TANIA PHILLIPS
Kingscliff’s Ray Gleave is once again the king of the Australian Longboard Surfing Open taking out two divisions in Sunday’s finals surfed in waist high conditions at Kingscliff’s South Beach.
With the Main Beach looking like a millpond organisers made the decision to move the action south of the bridge to take advantage of bigger waves. Contest Organiser Sean McKeown had already made the decision to run the LQS Open Events in the best conditions possible, with those two competitions finalized on Friday morning. Coolangatta’s Dane Pioli scored the win and the all-important points on the Australian ratings while the women’s event went to Hawaiian-based world champion Honolua Blomfield.
Gleave was one of a number of surfers to make it to two finals but the only one to win both. Early in the day he had blitzed the field in the Over 50s event finishing more than two points ahead of Ian Pearson (who caused an upset by beating the Kingscliff surfer in the same event last year). It was sweet revenge for Gleave who scored 12.33, ahead of Pearson with 10.06.
He then backed up to win the last event of the day the 10foot Stand-up Paddle Board with a score of 11.60 ahead of Kiwi David Storck. A regular visitor to the event this was Storck’s best result.
Sunshine Coast teenager Emily Lethbridge capped off a busy program with a win in the Nine Foot Amateur Women’s event. Lethbridge beat American Dana Haman 12 points to 8.6. It was a big week for the 16-year-old who had made the semi final of the LQS Women’s event on Friday, going down to eventual winner Honolua Blomfield and the final of the Salty Girls Surf School Under 18 girl’s competition, where she finished second behind Hawaiian Sally Cohen.
Contest director Sean McKeown said while conditions were small for this year’s competition he was still pleased with how it had run.
“It has been an interesting competition,” McKeown said. “We realised working with nature is a lottery and it was against us this year. To that extent everyone worked together to ensure we got the blue ribband LQS events out of the way in the best possible conditions.
“Moving them proved to be a great decision because finals day dictated we had to shift the location of the event. We are absolutely ecstatic with the support of International competitors and from the female competitors with a huge jump in numbers. Some surfed not only in women’s division but in the open events as well and acquitted themselves.”
McKeown said as well as the surfing action he was very pleased with the response to this year Shannon’s Surf vehicle and Classic vehicle show and shine.
Vehicle show organizer David Sunter said it was a big success.
“We had 28 entrants this year and all were good quality vehicles. The winner was a 66 VW Beetle owned by Ray Johnson from Arundel. The vehicle was a crowd favourite. The response from the general public was great – they were quite impressed with standard of vehicles on display. We were so lucky to have Shannon’s come on board this year to support the event which was really something we can build on for the future.”
Retro boards: David Babovic 8.33, Paul Driver 4.77
Rip Curl Under 18s: Aiden Feeley 13.67, James Culhane 11.96, Sophie Culhane 8.7, Scarlett Schremmer 8.63;
Salty Girls Surf School Under 18 Girls: Sally Cohen 12.73, Emily Lethbridge 10.00, Sophia Culhane 7.83, 4.63;
Hertz 9ft Amateur Women: Emily Lethbridge 12.00, Dana Haman 8.60, Kirra Molner 7.07, Tully White 6.67;
Scales Seafood 9ft: Jarrod Sunderland 10.83, Aiden Feeley 8.67, Dane Chalk 8.10, Mitchell Conwell 6.40; Juraki Invitational: Tom Avery 12.67, Joel Slabb 6.96, Bijang Slabb 6.96, Javiah Slabb 5.64;
Juraki Invitational Under 18s: Julung Slabb;
Juraki Invitational Women: Jalaan Slabb;
Juraki Invitational Over 40s: Joel Slabb;
TCM Rentals Coastal Over 40s: Hayden Swan15.17, Charlie O’Sullivan 9.27, Johnny Ripic 8.10,Kristy Quirk 7.66;
Logger: Nic Jones 13.77, Matt Mulder 13.44, Daniel McElvoy 7.10, Kirra Seale 6.00;
Pacific Longboarder Magazine Over 50s: Ray Gleave 12.33, Ian Pearson 10.06, Charlie O’Sullivan 9.43, Mark Savage 4.93;
Eight Foot Open: Matt Mulder 9.56, Ian Pearson 8.43, David Lima 6.36, Michael Cottier 5.66;
Aboods Crane Trucks Over 60s: Michael Cottier 12.73, David Storck 9.87, Storm Carter8.94, Craig Bedgood 6.10.
Old Blokes Rule Over 70s: Neville Smith 10.23, Bob Smith 6.66, Colin Small 5.26, Sue Altiman 4.57.
Volte Wetsuits Men’s LQS: Dane Piolo 16.00, Jack Entwistle 12.43.
Cancer Institute NSW Women’s LQS: Honolua Blomfield 14.10, Tory Gilkerson 9.10.
FLASH BACK TO EARLIER ROUNDS - REPORT BY ALSO'S TANIA PHILLIPS:
Coolangatta-based concreter Dane Piolli cemented his spot in the quarterfinals by causing the upset of the day at the Australian Longboard Surfing Open at Kingscliff.
Surfing in the second heat of round two of the Volte Wetsuits Mens LQS, Piolli – who turns 34 on Monday- turned giant-killer eliminating reigning world champion Taylor Jensen.
And then late in the day he backed up to advance through to the final by a narrow margin than defeating fellow Australian Declan Wyton in the quarters after organisers decided to take advantage of an improving wave and moved the women’s quarters and half of the men’s forward by a day. Surfing in challenging chest height waves, Pioli led from the beginning and held off a late challenge by Wyton to win 10.54 to 9.84. In the first quarterfinal Jared Neal proved too strong for Japanese surfer Kai Hamase. Tomorrow’s quarterfinals will see Jack Entwistle take on Brazilian Bage Brayner while quarter-final four is between Nic Jones and William Crowe.
Piolli a three-time winner of the Volte Wetsuits Men’s Pro Division at the Longboards prepared for three months – surfing the Kingscliff break as much as he could.
“I wasn’t surprised but I was stoked that I surfed to my potential. I have been getting really bad results recently and I’ve been second guessing myself whether I’m too old, whether I should give it up,” he said.
“I’ve just bought a house and I’ve got a young family and I’ve had to take the week off which is a big thing. To get through and to get into the prize money is a big thing but to beat the world champion gives me a confidence booster.
“Also, Jared Neal was in the heat so to see him progress with me was unreal. I have been practicing out here for the past three months, so I’ve got my own little lineups where I like to sit. I think it helped because I just sat in my spot which I knew and they were the ones getting flustered paddling up and down the beach changing positions, I held my ground and the waves keep coming to me. I wasn’t going to yell out to them come to me.”
World champion Honolua Blomfield was the first woman through the semifinals with a one-point win in the round of sixteen before coming back less than an hour later to take her quarter-final against fellow Hawaiian Dana Haman.
The affable 18-year-old has been coming to this event for three years and this is her best result so far but has her finger crossed she can go even further. It was her surf craft that got her through in trying conditions today.
“This morning was a bit slow I think I got a bit unlucky with the waves, my waves in my heat weren’t very good but I still had fun,” she said. “This is my third year, I’m always here for other events, I’ve had it good and I’ve had it bad.”
Surfing since jumping on the front of her mother’s board at age of two, Honolua is still pinching herself after winning the world title last year.
“Oh, I didn’t see that one coming,” she said.
Blomfield showed the skills that made her world champion in her defeat of fellow Hawaiian Haman. She got off to a good off to a flying start with good scoring waves. At the halfway point she held a solid lead of almost seven points. However, Haman caught some good waves towards the end to close the gap with the 18-year-old Hawaiian eventually winning 13.67 to 8.10.
Emily Lethbridge took the second spot in the semifinals of the women's after a seesawing heat. She finally got the better of Caloundra surfer Kathryn Hughes after the lead changed several times. Lethbridge advanced with a 6.40 to 5.23 victory over Hughes.
Defending champion Natsumi Atoka is out of the women's competition after her see-sawing quarter against Hawaiian Kirra Seale. Natsumi took the lead early but a Seale kept her calm and was able to come back to take victory 12.40 to 11.23.
Former world champion Californian Tory Gilkerson, who has just relocated to Coffs Harbour, was the last surfer of the day through to the finals after taking heat four of the second round.
Gilkerson defeated up and coming surfer Mason Schremmer, who had three good waves but was not able to match it with her older competitor. Gilkerson winning 11.58 to 10.30.