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Australian Boardriders Battle National Final set for action

Occy, Laura Enever & Joel Parkinson © Surfing Australia/Nikon



National Final Be the Influence Boardriders Battle

Australia Boardriders Battle
Cronulla, New South Whales, Australia
25 January, 2014

Australia's best descend on Cronulla for the final battle

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 January, 2014 -- Former ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson says this weekend’s National Final of the Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle in Cronulla will be surfing’s version of State of Origin.

The first day will feature a titanic battle of the ages between seven-time ASP World Champion Layne Beachley surfing for Queenscliff and Snapper Rocks’ five-time ASP World Champion Stephanie Gilmore during tomorrow’s Pairs heats at approximately 10.20am.

Boardriders clubs are the heart and soul of Australian surfing communities with a club at most beaches around Australia.

Sixteen of Australia’s top clubs qualified for this weekend’s event, which is the culmination of the biggest grassroots, boardriders event series in Australian surfing history with more than $100,000 in prize money.

It involved local clubs in seven State qualifying rounds and culminates in this weekend’s National Final at North Cronulla.

Each team of seven will include two juniors (1 male and 1 female), four Open age surfers (3 male and 1 female) and one over 35 surfer (male or female).

An exciting event format will see club teams battle it out in Pairs competition, five-person Teams competition and a Skins competition.  The National Final will include a lucrative, club-take-all Skins format across 10 heats with a $1000 jackpot in each heat.

The event is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professional (ASP), which allows Australian ASP World Championship Tour surfers the opportunity to represent their local boardriders and compete with their clubmates.

It means ASP World Champions like Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo, Gilmore and Beachley will surf alongside their clubmates in a fierce battle for the honour of Australia’s top boardriders club.

The junior members of each team could also find themselves up against the likes of Parkinson or a host of other current ASP World Tour competitors.

The clubs to contest the final are:

New South Whales: Merewether Surfboard Club, Avoca Boardriders, Werri Beach Boardriders, Elouera Boardriders, North Narrabeen Boardriders, Queenscliff Boardriders, Cronulla Sharks Boardriders.
Queensland: Snapper Rocks Surfriders, Kirra Surfriders, D-Bah Boardriders
Victoria: Torquay Boardriders, 13th Beach Boardriders
Western Australia:  Yallingup Boardriders, Margaret River Boardriders
South Australia: Seaford Boardriders
Tasmania: South Arm Boardriders

Parkinson will open his account for Snapper Rocks in the Skins heats tomorrow and is feeling the same pressure as during his triumphant 2012 ASP World Title campaign.

Snapper Rocks is one of the strongest teams at the event with Parkinson joined by Gilmore, ASP World Tour Competitor Mitch Crews, leading Pro Junior Mitch Parkinson, former pro Jay Phillips and Australian junior champion Holly-Sue Coffey.

“The pressure of surfing for an ASP World Title is all on yourself, but when I’m surfing for my club it’s where I grew up, it’s my grassroots,” Parkinson said. “There’s a different pressure when you’re surfing for a team as there is this great camaraderie where everyone focuses on each person to do their job.

“All you have to do is go out and catch two waves but in saying that it can be the most difficult thing to do when you’ve got all your friends, family and clubmates sweating on your scores.

“I’m confident in my team. There are some teams surfing that may not have the superstar names but across the board they are amazing. Clubs like Narrabeen will be tough and the West Australian teams will also be hard to beat.

“This is like our State of Origin or grand final. The prize pool is great but the claiming rights are massive.”

Surfing starts at 8am on both days with the first heats of the Pairs to open the event tomorrow morning with host club Cronulla Sharks meeting Yallingup from Western Australia.

Ben McCartney from official swell forecaster Coastalwatch said conditions are pointing to rising S swell upwards of 4-5ft by Saturday afternoon along with a freshening S wind, which will ease in the afternoon. A SSE swell is expected to ease on Sunday with an ESE wind of 5-15 knots before swinging NE during the afternoon.

Other ASP World Tour competitors taking part include Dion Atkinson (Seaford), Taj Burrow (Yallingup), Matt Wilkinson (Avoca) and Laura Enever (North Narrabeen).

Former ASP World Tour competitors include Dave Macaulay (Margaret River), Nathan Webster (North Narrabeen), Luke Egan (Merewether), 1999 ASP World Champion Occhilupo (Cronulla) and Beachley (Queenscliff).

- Surfing starts at North Cronulla at 8am on Saturday and Sunday

- Pairs surfing will open the event with host club Cronulla Sharks and Yallingup meeting in the first heat

- Seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley and five-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore to meet in Heat 8 of the Pairs at approximately 10.20am on Saturday

- The event will be televised live both days on Fuel TV and streamed at Australian Boardriders Battle.

- Both days will end with a free concert featuring some of Australia’s top music acts at Dunningham Park, Kingsway, Cronulla starting at 4.30pm on Saturday and 4pm on Sunday

This event is supported by the Be the Influence - Tackling Binge Drinking initiative, part of the Australian Government's National Binge Drinking Strategy addressing youth binge drinking and raising awareness of the long and short term impacts of harmful drinking among young people through sport sponsorships and other activities.

The Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle is proudly supported by Be the Influence – Tackling Binge Drinking, Billabong, Toyota, Nikon, Surfing Australia, Surfing NSW, Destination NSW, the Association of Surfing Professionals and Milwaukee.

Tim Brimblecombe

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