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Barney Quinlan Crowned Australia's first Alaia Champion

Alaia finalists : photo R Miller

Australian Surf Festival

History Created as Barney Quinlan Crowned Australia's first Alaia Champion

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 August, 2011 : - - Australian surfing history was created in Port Macqaurie today, at the Australian Surf Festival, with the first ever Alaia champion crowned. Town Beach provided the ideal arena for the maiden final, pumping out some great conditions for the traditional Hawaiian surfboards fit for a king.

In clean 3ft (1-metre) waves, Barney Quinlan (Bondi, NSW) etched his name in the record books, netting a 10.25 two-wave combined total on the finless wooden boards to beat Ian Bell (North haven, NSW), Matt Cook, Cronulla, NSW) and Jarrad Davies (Margaret River, WA).

Barney Quinlan who competed in the final on a beautifully carved wooden Alaia, looked in sync with the traditional ancient art of surfing, which is finding it’s roots in the Australian Surfing scene. “It feels extra special knowing I am the first person to win the Australian Title in the Alaia, I’ve been lucky enough to ride one for a couple of years after a friend of mine helped me shape it”.

“I like to think of it as a combination of Longboard, Body surfing and body boarding, being a surfer that’s surfed a lot of different waves for a few years on the Alaia, it’s great to see the Australian Surf festival open the division and continue to down the track”, said Quinlan.

Alaia surfing continues to grow in Australia and the addition to the 2011 Australian Surf Festival, sparked interest amongst spectators and competitors who whitnessed the historical moment in Australian Surfing history.

The second crowning of the day went to Brittani Nichol (Byron Bay, NSW) edging out Newcastle’s Philippa Anderson, Lake Height’s Sky Burgess and Currumbin’s Eden Putland, in a high scoring final for the open women’s.

With highly contestable conditions on offer, mixing some powerful backhand moves with a smooth flow to take the crown, Brittani Nicholl got busy from the opening siren. Nailing a 7.5 on her first ride, to secure her lead and take the win in pristine conditions on Town Beach.

“I cant believe I won, it was great to get in the final and then to win is even better, I’ve been in this event two years before this and today is the first time I’ve been in the final”. Brittani’s win did not come easily with Anderson and Burgess hot on her tail throughout the final.

“It’s a great feeling when you win the event knowing the other girls where on fire also, it gives me a bit more confidence and it feels great”, said a super excited Nicholl.

Taking to the water for the first time during the Australian Surfmasters Titles was the over 50’s with outstanding performances from Rodd Baldwin (Copacabana, NSW), Grayme Galbraith (Jan Juc, VIC) and Peter McNamara (Coolum, QLD) winning their opening round heats and moving straight through to round 2.

The festival isn’t just about the surfing; it will tickle the taste buds of entertainment buffs with live music, surf art, surfing education courses and the Essential Energy Indigenous Surfing Program confirmed for the two-week event.

One of Australia’s leading indigenous artists, Vernon Ah Kee has taken centre stage at the Glasshouse Regional Gallery with his Cant Chant Exhibition, which will opened during the festival waiting period. Ah Kee is known for his incisive critiques of White Australian culture. In the Cant Chant exhibition he takes on the iconic subject of the beach and casts a critical eye on its special role in forming Australian identity.

Cant Chant includes surfboards painted with North Queensland rainforest shield designs as well as a video installation featuring dead boards (waterlogged surfboards) blasted by guns, and Aboriginal surfers.

As an added benefit to this year’s festival, an exciting live music program, including six shows, will be staged at the Blue Water Bar and Restaurant.

The 2011 Australian Surf Festival is proudly presented by Surfing Australia and Surfing NSW and proudly supported by Events NSW, Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, Blue Water Bar and Restaurant, Glasshouse Regional Gallery, Suncorp, VB, Australian Sports Commission, Coastalwatch, NBN Television, Port Macquarie News, Star FM, 2MC FM, Surfing World Magazine and Pacific Longboarder Magazine.

The Australian Surf Festival Program:
Australian Longboard Titles – 14-20 August, 2011
Australian Stand Up Paddleboard Titles – 21-24 August, 2011
Australian Surfmasters Titles – 21-27 August, 2011
Australian Alaia Titles - 24-27 August, 2011
Australian Single Fin Titles – 26-27 August, 2011

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Renee Miller, Surfing NSW

Masters - Surfersvillage


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