Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing
First Point Noosa, Queensland
8 - 17 March 2014
Golden Breed Noserider & Vans Logger Pro rule the day
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 March, 2014 - Day five dawned immaculate for the Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing. Unlike the wobbly waves of previous days, First Point was like well starched corduroy, perfect peelers wrapping into Laguna Bay to give the early heats of the Noosa Longboards Men's 60 and Over competitors a glorious playing field to work with.
It seemed as if these adversaries were far more concerned with having fun and enjoying themselves than entering any fierce rivalry, but a competitive streak remained and the gentlemen chalked up some admirable scores.
The Golden Breed Noserider, always a fast-paced and popular event, took advantage of the mechanically peeling waves, competitors aiming to spend as much time on each wave on the front 45 centimetres (18 inches) of their boards. Not ideal noseriding conditions, the softer waves weren't allowing surfers to maximise on their tip time, but some staggering performances of nasal mastery were, nevertheless on display.
Matt Cuddihy opened in typical fashion, his combination of local knowledge and exceptional talent launching him into an early lead and establishing a very high bench mark for heats to come. Nick Farago again presented his consummate prowess on all forms of board, huge scores combining to give him a third place. But it was current world champ, Taylor Jensen, who collected the biggest numbers. Despite his big frame, Taylor levitated on the nose for seemingly impossible lengths in the smaller conditions, mustering a huge 51.98 seconds of time in front of the line.
These were the big guns, almost expected to win from the outset, not to disregard the superb talents of the other competitors or seem complacent about the fine footwork of Cuddihy, Farago and Jensen. Other surfers of note were Seitaro Nakamura (Japan), Kiwi Paul Culpan and surprise round two qualifier, 15-year-old Honolua Blomfield.
Harrison Roach © Ian Borland
Diversifying from the usual events, Deus presented the Womp Comp next, the inaugural competition leaving boards on the shoreline and showcasing the art of bodysurfing. Bodysurfing legend, Mark Cunningham, was on hand to enlighten judges on the new criteria, length of ride, positioning on the wave, tricks and wave-catching skills all taken into account in this unique event created by Deus.
In the four-heat round one, two surfer-swimmers stood out: Sydney's Don McCredie and winner of the Jeep Waterman Challenge, Harrison Roach. The judges, their usual point of focus standing up on a board, were challenged by the new division, but were quick to take to the Womp Comp rule book immediately. Roach held patience, coming from behind to win his heat, but McCredie was a shoe in from the get-go, a perfect ten for his long, calculated ride, soon to be followed by a 9.5, made him the definitive winner and prime contender for a finals berth - not a bad turn-out for his 50th birthday.
The senior age divisions of the PJ Burns Builders Over 65s and Noosa Longboards Over 60s copped the worst of the tide. Nice clean waves proved a test of skill and mettle for contestants, as they drained across the shallow, low-tide sandbanks. The first round of the PJ Burns Men's 65 and Over suffered a bit of a wave drought, surfers struggling a little to achieve their allotted two-wave tally. None missed out, but some had to make do with the less than average scores they did manage.
As is often the case, Rusty Millerclaimed a win, advancing directly to join Bob Smith and Daniel Bond in the final. Round three of the Noosa Longboards Men's 60 and Over saw the water coming back, filling in over First Point's banks and making for some fast, fun rides. Earle Page, Tony Caramanico and Steve O'Donnell leap-frogged the reperchage round into the finals, an even spread from Queensland, New South Wales and the USA surfing again to vie for the remaining three spots.
Mitch Surman © Ian Borland
Round four of the Vans Logger Pro was quite simply astounding. While Harrison Roach, Mitch Surman and Bowie Pollard won their respective heats, the quality of surfing was far too high to single out any one particular surfer, suffice it to say that Sam Crookshanks, Edouard Delpero and Clinton Guest should receive awards of commendation despite having missed out on a qualifying place.
Womping session number two was equally as spectacular. Patience didn't pay off for Don McCredie and his near-perfect performance could not be repeated, lack of waves (and superb competition) getting the better of him. Zye Norris is fast following in fellow Noosarian, Harrison Roach's footsteps as a consummate waterman, confidently scoring some of the best waves of the day to win his heat. He, Roach and Matt Cuddihy all made the final and all local, multi-divisional competitors, to be joined by Timothy Walker, Phil Gabel and Rene Nippard in Saturday's final of the Deus Body Womp Comp.
A cracking result for Roisin Carolan, the young lady from New South Wales the only female contender in the Foam Symmetry Old Mal coming second to Jay Sherwell to advance to round three. Local shaper at Thomas Surfboards, Thomas Bexon, surfed a cracker to take out his heat, and Ozstar DeJourday snatching third despite still trying to borrow a pre-1968 board after his heat had already begun!
Alexandra Heads' Mitch Surman of MS Surfboards was unstoppable in semi final heat two of the Vans Logger Pro. Bringing a background of high performance surfing into the realm of the traditional, Mitch's powerful surfing and classic finesse had judges, commentators and spectators electrified. Unstoppable, that is, until the dying minutes, when Taylor Jensen scored one of the day's best waves to just take the lead. Not so bad though, as both surfers advance to the final.
Harry Roach © Ian Borland
The big talk in the XXXX Summer Beach Bar tonight though was over heat one. Competition was tight from the outset between Harrison Roach, Josh Constable and Bowie Pollard. Placings were juggled throughout the heat, each surfer having their turn on top. A latter-half wave seemed to secure a win for Roach, so the race was on between Constable and Pollard for the remaining finals berth. Constable seemed to have it in the bag by a whisker, but a late wave from Pollard had spectators guessing and judges head-scratching. When the final decimal point was tallied, it came down to point zero-five, and that finest of margins was in Pollard's favour.
Regular festival troubadours, the Band of Frequencies, drew in the evening with an acoustic set. But this was only a taster of their grand offering. Aross the road from the beach at Cafe Le Monde, the Freqs performed again and introduced Justin Krum's 'Transparentsea', a surfing voyage down California's coastline by Dave RAstovich, Chris Del Moro and Lauren Hill to draw attention to whale protection and marine conservation. A beautiful movie, and beautiful soundtrack and a beautiful end to another beautiful Noosa day at the Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing presented by Jeep.