The final day of the Australian Surf Festival kicked off in throaty three-foot waves at Gallows Beach to conclude the final heats of the Wahu Australian Bodyboard Titles.
Finn Haslau (Margaret River, WA) managed to nab the first bodyboard victory for WA, taking out the Cadets division (Under-16) with a 13.75 heat total. The West Australian bodyboarder managed to pip his fellow statesmen Lachie Breaky (Dunsborough, WA) to claim the top spot.
“This is so good, I can’t believe it,” said Haslau. “This is my first year competing and I was just doing it to give it a bit of a shot and see how I went more than anything. My goal coming into the event was to just make it through the first round pretty much.”
After posting the highest two-wave heat total of the event in his round two heat, (19.75) Jarrah Hamlin (Kingscliff, NSW) managed to back up the performance in the Junior Men’s final (Over-18) when he took out the highly competitive division. Hamlin posted a near perfect 9.50 wave score (out of a possible ten points) and an 8.10 to get the upper hand over his fellow competitors. The aforementioned wave scores proved to be too much of an uphill battle for runner-up Joe Bourke (Copacabana, NSW) who was left chasing a 9.85 wave score to take the lead.
“After just missing out on winning last year, I’m super stoked to win this year,” said Hamlin. “I basically just wanted to get two good waves to start and then start hunting barrels. After my round two heat my confidence began to build and thankfully it all happened around finals time.”
Harry Crain (Copacabana, NSW) showed a combination of fearlessness and bravado in the Grommet division (Under-14) to claim the title ahead of Buzz Van Der Waal (Kingscliff, NSW). Crain posted a solid 11.25 heat total to take the crown; his second in two years.
“I’m pretty happy to get another Aussie Title,” said Crain. “I think they feel as equally as good as each other, I hope to get even more over the years. All my other competitors are really good bodyboarders as well, so I knew I had to put on a good performance to take it out.”
Event standout Ben Veitch (Margaret River, WA) took out his first Australian Title, successfully nabbing the Open Men’s division in a virtually wave-starved final. Veitch was able to lock in an 8.00 scoring wave in the first minutes of the event, which allowed him to keep his opposition at arm’s length over the course of the entire final.
“I’m so relieved,” said Veitch. “My high score came in the first few minutes and then nothing really substantial came my way for the rest of the heat. I kept seeing the other guys catching waves, so I had to play a bit of a tactical game. It was the greatest feeling ever when I saw the final few seconds count down. I’m 25 now and I’ve been doing the Australian Titles since I was 18, so to get the win makes me so happy. The West Australian team were a really tight unit when it came to encouragement and I think that also played a massive role in the win.”
The Australian Surf Festival at Coffs Harbour attracted more than 500 surfers from around the country, over the 18-day event period.
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.
Results, photos, highlight clips and daily news are all available at www.australiansurffestival.com
The 2014 Australian Surf Festival was proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event was 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.