Five new Australian Surfmasters Champions were crowned today at the 2014 Australian Surf Festival at Emerald Beach.
Competitors in a variety of different divisions battled it out in near perfect three-to-four foot righthanders in hope of nabbing themselves a coveted Australian Title.
Jake Paterson’s (Yallingup, WA) impressive run through the Australian Surf Festival hit its climax in the Over-35 Men’s final when the former World Championship Tour surfer overcame a talented field to claim the title with a heat total of 14.40 (out of a possible 20 points). Over the course of the 25-minute final, Paterson went neck and neck with Mark Richardson (Palm Beach, Qld); however Paterson’s razor sharp forehand turns were too much for Richardson who finished in second. Damien Healy (Bundall, Qld) finished in third spot, while Marcus Davidson (Shelly Beach, NSW) claimed fourth.
“There’s a lot of effort that goes into making the state team. In WA we’ve got three rounds to go through, so it’s actually pretty difficult” said Paterson. “I love coming away with the West Australian team. Since I’ve finished my professional career I enjoy coming back to the roots of the sport. There’s also a little bit more pressure to perform in these events as you really want to do it for your fellow West Australian surfers and you don’t want to let them down. I love it all and am pretty stoked to be taking the title back to WA.”
Glenn Pringle (Cronulla, NSW) added an Australian Title to his impressive list of accomplishments when he took out the Over-40 Men’s final. The Cronulla surfer threw down a series of massive forehand turns to post a heat total of 15.95, which consequently left his closest competitor, Scott Schindler (Sawtell, NSW) chasing a near perfect 9.20 wave score (out of a possible ten points) to snatch the lead. When the final buzzer went it was Schindler who finished in second, while Paul Paterson (City Beach, WA) and Wayne Morrison (Port Macquarie, NSW) took third and fourth respectively.
“As far as my performance goes I feel like I actually hit my peak in the semi-finals,” said Pringle. “I unfortunately felt some cramps in my legs by the time the finals came around and I think I was lucky to come away with the win. I would really like to dedicate my win to my brother Shane who took his own life 25 years ago this year. I’m sure he’s up there looking down on me.”
Local surfer John Schmidenberg (Emerald Beach, NSW) managed to take the win on home soil when he took out the Over-45 Men’s final. The talented goofy-footer locked in a series of excellent heat totals prior to claiming the prestigious title, including a 19.00 heat total in his semi final, which was formed by the event’s only perfect ten point ride and a near perfect 9.00. Despite the best efforts from Sydney’s Paul Wayland (Newport, NSW) who performed a series of technical manoeuvres in the final, Schmidenberg was able to take the title with a total of 17.25.
“I’m thrilled,” said Schmidenberg. “I’ve had a fair few seconds at Aussies before, so I’m always wrapped to get a win. I guess I just tried to move around a lot and try to read the waves. Funnily enough, living here isn’t actually an advantage as the waves move around a lot. I guess I also just tried to stay wide of a lot of people as there was a bit of hassling for waves.”
Eight-time Australian Champion Rod Baldwin (Copacabana, NSW) was able to add another accomplishment to his resume when he claimed the Over-50 Men’s Title. Despite being knocked from the event in the semi-finals in the Over-45 Men’s division, Baldwin was able to sync his backhand turns with Emerald Beach’s long and wally righthanders in the Over-50 Men’s final and take the win.
“These titles continue to feel unreal,” said Baldwin. “The level continues to lift at every Australian Title, so to come out on top still feels great. I guess I focus primarily on the Over-50 Men and if I do well in the Over-45 then it’s all well and good. I really enjoyed the event this year.”
Wayne Kinerson (Scotts Head, NSW) was wearing a smile from ear-to-ear after claiming the Over-55 Men’s Title. The natural-footer was able to lock in multiple turns on righthanders to take the tight battle which saw less than a point separating first, second, third and fourth. An emotional Kinerson dedicated his victory to a series of friends who have deceased in recent years.
“I’m just so stoked, thank you everyone,” said Kinerson. “I’ve actually been pretty sick since the State Titles and haven’t really been out of bed for a month. When I made the final, all I wanted to do was to thump the hell out of the waves. The camaraderie in the water was pretty good overall, but the other guys definitely didn’t make it easy for me. This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.”
The FCS Performer Of The Day Awards were handed to Scott Schindler and John Schmindenberg for their performances in their respective divisions. Both surfers received an FCS legrope and tailpad for their efforts.
The Australian Surf Festival at Coffs Harbour is set to attract more than 500 surfers from around the country, over the 18-day event period.
The Australian Longboard Titles will kick off tomorrow. A hotline – 0458 247 212 – is operating for the festival which will feature a recorded message updated at 6:45am each morning with the confirmed daily schedule and contest venue.
Coffs Harbour is home to a number of great beach break options that work in a variety of wind and swell conditions. The main base for the event will be Park Beach which is located north east of the Coffs Harbour CBD. The event is fully mobile in the Coffs Harbour region with numerous beach break options which include Park Beach, Macauley’s Beach, Diggers Beach, Jetty Beach, Gallows, Arrawarra Beach, Mulloway Beach, Woolgoolga Beach, Emerald Beach and Sapphire Beach.
Live results and daily news will be updated at www.australiansurffestival.com
The 2014 Australian Surf Festival is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event is also proudly supported by Coffs Harbour City Council, Coffs Coast Tourism, Wahu, The Hoey Moey, Nikon, Toyota, Pacific Longboarder, FCS, Australian Institute of Sport, Surfing NSW and Surfing Australia.