Clinton Guest (Burleigh Waters, Qld) and Emma Webb (Jan Juc, Vic) have been crowned 2014 Australian Open Longboard Champions, claiming titles in clean two-to-three foot waves at the 2014 Australian Surf Festival.
Guest and Webb took the victories for Queensland and Victoria when they took out the prestigious titles in waves that ran 100-to-200-metres down the length of Arrawarra Headland.
Guest was arguably the underdog going into the Open Men’s final, facing off against former World Longboard Champion Harley Ingleby (Emerald Beach, NSW), 2013 Open Men’s Longboard Champion Jared Neal (Sapphire Beach, NSW) and Justin Redman (Dunsborough, WA). However, Guest stepped up to the plate and was able to post a 9.00 wave score (out of a possible ten points) and an 8.45 for a series of critical turns and lengthy nose-rides. Despite moments of brilliance from all competitors, Guest’s aforementioned waves scores enabled him to narrowly keep on top of the Open Men’s runner-up (Ingleby) and take the win by a mere 0.40 points.
“I think I just surfed the heat of my life,” said Guest. “I knew it’d take something pretty special to beat guys like Harley and Jared at their local break and Justin Redman as well. I can’t believe I came away with the win. I had a special board that I rode a few years ago and it’s been in the cupboard for a little while and I knew that I’d have to go as hard as I possibly could to get a win over them. Fortunately, we played gentleman’s rules over the course of the final as well, which made it nice and fair. I’ve been dreaming about winning this since I was a kid.”
Emma Webb (Jan Juc, Vic) managed to bag the Australian Open Women’s final, locking in a heat total of 15.50 (out of a possible 20 points). The Victorian surfer was able to steal the win in the dying minutes from back-to-back Australian Title runner-up Erin Dark (Tugun, Qld), who was leading the charge for the majority of the heat. Kathryn Hughes (Currimundi, Qld) took third and Lara Murphy (North Bondi, NSW) claimed fourth spot.
“I am so stoked,” said Webb. “At the end of the heat, I thought Erin actually won, so I was massively relieved when they told me my final score was enough to take the lead. I just tried to win with my turns as I knew all the other competitors were amazing at nose-riding.”
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.
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.