OpenLIVE Shark Island Challenge
Surfing New South Wales
Cronula Bay, Sydney, Australia
7 - 8 June, 2016
Shark Island Challenge light up in perfect 6- 8 ft conditions
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 June, 2016 - Mitch Rawlings (Gold Coast, Qld) has taken out the 2016 OpenLIVE Shark Island Challenge in picturesque six-to-eight foot waves. The final day of the OpenLIVE Shark Island Challenge was set to be an absolute cracker of a finish with the previous days action seeing some of the heaviest waves ridden since the infamous 2001 event.
Shaun Pyne (Cronulla), Shaun Petersen (NSW), Mitch Rawlins (Gold Coast, Qld), Lachlan Cramsie (Kiama) and Jase Finlay (NSW) all earned the position as the five finalists to duke it out in tricky conditions, and with the tide dropping out, the in-form riders over the two days didn’t disappoint.
The 40-minute final (best two waves) kicked off with Pyne taking off on a smaller peak to get his final underway with a 5.67 wave score (out of a possible ten points). Rawlins then pushed through a bigger wave and popped out the top, which was deemed incomplete and resulted in a tiny 3.00 wave score, while Petersen opened his account with a nice foamball ride on a larger wave that scored a 6.67.
Rawlins then went back to playing a waiting game, which proved to be a smart move, eventually finding himself a clean, wide barrel to lock down a 7.1.
With five minutes remaining, Finlay and Pune scored themselves a 6.23 and a 7.57 respectively, allowing Finlay to move into the lead momentarily, however Rawlins – who had been waiting patiently all final – took a gamble on a wide set and as a result, scored himself a 7.67 to move straight into the top spot and take the title.
The invitational format included a two-round leaderboard format with a five-man final formed from highest ranked riders over the two rounds surfed. The event has been waiting to run now for over 18 months. In 2015, the appropriate swells required to run the Shark Island Challenge never eventuated.