Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) West Australia Pro Am Series
Presented by SunSmart
Surfing Western Australia
Margaret River, West Australia
21 - 22 February 2015
Local takes top honors in challenging conditions at Margaret River
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 February, 2015 - Margaret River, Australia - Jerome Forrest has conquered large swells and strong winds to claim victory at the opening event of the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) WA Pro Am Series presented by SunSmart.
In a memorable and entertaining weekend of competition, Forrest defeated an all-star lineup of Western Australia’s best surfers to book his place into the trials of the upcoming World Surf League (WSL) Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in April.
After sensational day one waves at the main event site of Gas Bay, an overnight change in conditions saw the competition shift to the consistent but rarely utilised point break and protected bay known as Sewers.
“We experienced some truly contrasting conditions this weekend," said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. "Competitors who could adapt the from the clean hollow waves of yesterday to the windy lumps offer today generally got the bigger scores and better results."
Forrest pulled out some of his best surfing on route to the Open Men's final, scoring the HIF 'wave of the weekend' for the event's only perfect 10 point ride in his semi-final. This timely confidence boost saw Forrest capitalise on his local knowledge, scoring a near perfect 9.70 (from a possible 10) in the 25 minute Open Men's final to claim an impressive win.
Despite the best efforts of WA stalwart Drew Everest (Duncriag) and brothers Dave Delroy-Carr (Margaret River) and Matt Delroy-Carr (Scarborough) who all challenged at stages, it was 2011 HIF Pro Am Series Champion Forrest walked away with the win.
"I'm so stoked right this has been a sick event and thanks to all the boys," said Forrest. “I’ve just flown back from a month on the road and it's great to be back home and earning my spot into WA's biggest surfing event."
Former WAL world tour competitor Claire Bevilacqua (Yallingup) showed her experience and class to take out the Open Women's division. Bevilacqua wore multiple sets on the head, but was able to slip into the best waves of the final. An excellent 8.00 (from a possible 10) was the difference as Bevilacqua defeated former Junior National Champion Emi Campbell (Denmark), and local talent Bailee Hastie (Margaret River) and Ella Massie (Margaret River) in a one sided affair.
"These events mean so much to me," said Bevilacqua. "I'm thrilled to see some of the young girls I coach now competing the same events that launched my career."
The weekend saw many of the state’s best up and coming juniors move up into open competition for the very first time. The Under-21 Pro Junior final was brimming with talent, as Felix Leaver (Yallingup), Josh Burke (Margaret River), Jed Mattinson (Margaret River) and Ace Van Peer (Mandurah) went all-out in a display of WA's next generation of surfing champions.
At just 15 years of age Felix Leaver turned heads and wowed the crowd, dropping two eight point plus rides to edge out defending Under-21 State Champion Josh Burke by less than half of one point in an emphatic backhand performance.
"The waves today have been so good," said Leaver. "We had some sick ones in our final and everyone was ripping so hard."
The event also saw a host of WA's most staunch surfers compete in an array of masters divisions. Big wave hero Paul Paterson (Yallingup) showed his pedigree by taking out the hotly contested Over-35 Masters and Over-40 Senior Masters divisions in style. Paterson was explosive in his attack, posting high scores and tackling the biggest of waves with no fear.
"We've been so lucky this weekend," said Paterson. "The standard at this event has been at the highest level I've ever experienced."
Murray Jacob (Swanbourne) made a welcome return to state competition, dropping the highest combined total of the event in the Over-45 Grand Masters division final. A near perfect 9.67 and excellent 8.93 left Jacob on an 18.60 two wave combined total (from a possible 20) and a convincing winner.
"It's been a while between drinks for me at these comps," said Jacob. "I'm surprised to see how far they've come along and the excellent surfers we currently have in WA."
Mark Clift (Trigg) took out the Over-50 Legends division on the strength of a nine point ride (from a possible 10), just one of three waves he rode in the final.
"It was pretty tough out there," said Clift. "I'm a proud Western Australian and this is what life should be all about."
In other results from the weekend, Tom Innes (Margaret River) dominated the Single Fin division, while Mal Caithness (Margaret River) and Steve Pozzi (Woodvale) took out the Over-55 Kahunas and Over-60 Dukes division.
After a highly successful opening event the HIF Pro Am Series will now prepare to head offshore to Rottnest Island for the second round of competition in May, followed by Geraldton in June.
1. Jerome Forrest (Margaret River) 17.03pts $500, 2. Drew Everest (Duncriag) 16.44pts $250, 3. Dave Delroy-Carr (Margaret River) 15.33pts, $150, 4. Matt Delroy-Carr (Scarborough) 9.34pts, $100.
1. Claire Bevilacqua (Yallingup) 14.67pts $150, 2. Emi Campbell (Denmark) 8.50pts, 3. Bailee Hastie (Margaret River) 8.44pts, 4. Ella Massie (Margaret River) 5.33pts.
Under 21 Pro Junior:
1. Felix Leaver (Yallingup) 17.33pts $150, 2. Josh Burke (Margaret River) 16.93pts, 3. Jed Mattinson (Margaret River) 15.40pts, 4. Ace Van Peer (Mandurah) 13.60pts.
1. Tom Innes (Margaret River) 16.00pts, 2. Paul Burke (Dunsborough) 10.00pts, 3. Luke Hayter (Doubleview) 8.50pts.
Over 35 Master Men:
1. Paul Paterson (Yallingup) 16.00pts, 2. Damian Lipscombe (Yallingup) 10.60pts, 3. Paul Burke (Dunsborough) 9.03pts, 4. Luke Hayter (Doubleview) 8.07pts, 5. Peter McCallum (Scarborough) 6.43pts.
Over 40 Senior Master Men:
1. Paul Paterson (Yallingup) 17.50pts, 2. Murray Jacob (Swanbourne) 15.33pts, 3. Mark Clift (Trigg) 7.66pts, 4. Nick Black (Mandurah) 2.50pts.
Over 45 Grand Master Men:
1. Murray Jacob (Swanbourne) 18.60pts, 2. Mark Clift (Trigg) 16.00pts, 3. Brad Cowan (Margaret River) 12.87pts, 4. Sheldon Spencer (Mandurah) 9.07pts.
Over 50 Legend Men:
1. Mark Clift (Trigg) 15.33pts, 2. Brad Cowan (Margaret River) 11.83pts, 3. Mal Caithness (Margaret River) 6.84pts, 4. Sheldon Spencer (Mandurah) 6.04pts.
Over 55 Kahuna Men:
1. Mal Caithness (Margaret River) 9.50pts, 2. Steve Pozzi (Woodvale) 6.43pts,
Over 60 Duke Men:
1. Steve Pozzi (Woodvale) 7.83pts, 2. Gerry Bejarano (Trigg) 0.83pts