Jim Beam Surftag Australian Champs
Duranbah Beach, Tweed Heads Australia
29 - 30 March 2014
DBAH Boardriders win 2014 Jim Beam Surftag Australian Champs
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 31 March, 2014 - DBAH Boardriders won the Jim Beam Surftag Australian Championship yesterday with their mastery of the conditions at their local Duranbah Beach, Tweed Heads. A combination of perfect time management and critical surfing saw the club claim their first Jim Beam Surftag Australian Title and the highly sought after $15,000.
After days of torrential rain and howling winds, competition was gifted blue skies and firing conditions in the 3 to 4 foot range. It was the Bronte ‘Blue Ducks’ (39.77), Merewether (72.97), Le-Ba (76.2) and DBAH (78.97) who progressed through to the final in a cutthroat day of competitive surfing. However it was the home-ground knowledge that saw DBAH’s John Cummings, Brent Dorrington, Nick Vasicek, Samba Mann and Joel Nantes snatch the victory to the great elation of a huge local crowd.
“The boys all put it in through till the end there and Nantes brought it home for us,” said a thrilled Brent Dorrington. “He went mad for us. He had 6 minutes and got out there, smashed his first one and got a three to back it up.”
“Everyone was on edge, we couldn’t believe it. We’re so frothing. We’ve only been a club for five years. Everyone can’t believe it that we’re here winning the Australian Champs.”
Joel Nantes, a new recruit for the DBAH side, brought it home for the locals and gifted them their first victory. Nantes got the three bonus points for his side in the closing stage and managed to squeeze maximum points from an inside wave, essentially nailing the title just within time meaning the group known as “the fun club” had big reason to celebrate.
“My heart was absolutely racing,” he said. “I wanted to get two quick waves and capitalise on that second one because I know how much that can make or break it for the boys.”
“I’m so stoked I was able to get that quick first one and bring it home for the boys... It sure to be a wild night, we’re stoked. Thanks to Jim Beam and everyone involved.”
The final heat of the day was opened strongly by James Wood from Le-Ba, locking in a massive personal total of 24.67 as the club hunted down a second title with victory at Lennox Head in 2011. “I just wanted to get a few turns in the pocket on the rights breaking off the wall,” said Wood. “I was stoked to get those two waves because it’s really tricky on the low tide.”
Jake Sylvester put his Merewether Surfboard Club into a fantastic position after his opening account with a series of brutal top turns. Despite being somewhat understrength without star Surftag competitors Mitch Ross and Craig Anderson, the Newcastle club showed their depth with outstanding performances from Sylvester, Paul Parkes, Jesse Adam, Ryan Callinan and Travis Lynch, keeping them in the mix right until the dying minutes.
“We hadn’t put together an ideal heat all competition. It was good to do my job properly as first surfer and get good scores for the boys,” said Sylvester. “Unlucky not to take it out but a good performance.”
Travis Lynch topped scored the BOSCH Powerwave Competition, taking home the BOSCH Rock Box valued at $400, with a 9.67 in the final. “It’s feeling really good to get that wave,” he said. “I buggered up the first one and I knew there’d be a good one coming through and it did, I was stoked. It wedged up in the corner and it had a real clean face.”
John Cummings, DBAH’s first surfer, fell on his BOSCH Powerwave but Dorrington managed to claw his club back into contention in the opening stages with a draining tube ride off the rocks, locking in an 8.27. Marcus Aboody pushed it to the limits for Le-Ba – albeit too far – after he damaged his knee on the run up the beach, desperate to give his side the best fighting chance of a victory. Fellow clubman, Stu Kennedy is no stranger to Surftag having represented his club on countless occasions and proved his experience scoring 15.2.
“I’m stoked with how the boys have gone,” said Kennedy. “Woody opened really well for us and Marcus Aboody killed it and I just tried to get a few quick waves.”
“It’s not about getting the biggest scores all the time in these events, those five-point rides can be the difference if your team can get in and get the bonus points.”
The Bronte Blue Ducks couldn’t manage to keep their feet on their boards with a number of consecutive fall offs. Surfing at number four Nick Vasicek top scored for his DBAH side with a 22.3 total. The commanding personal performance put his side into the ideal position as time raced down and it was left to Joel Nantes to deliver.
As exciting as the final was, there was a big upset in semi-final one that left many talking. Five-time National Champions North Narrabeen spectacularly fell short when Jordy Lawler was left in the line-up only needing a 2-point ride as the final hooter sounded. The shock exit lit a fire in every club, realising the opportunity with the dominant club knocked out. Semi-final two saw the local boys DBAH dominate with Merewether in second position after a standout performance from Jesse Adam who managed a 17.7 personal total in less than eight minutes. Queenscliff, Avoca and Coolum were also eliminated in the semi-finals.
DBAH not only went home with a hard-fought title as the country’s best boardriders club, but the five competitors will be invited on a 7-day Maldives boat trip courtesy of Perfect Wave Travel.
For the first time at the Australian Championships the Tee Ink Tee Off was held. This speciality event saw the Man of the Match from the six Jim Beam Surftag Qualifiers compete in a 15-minute heat with each surfer only to catch one wave. James Wood (Le-Ba) looked to have the heat sewn up in the first 30 seconds locking in an 8.83 but forgot to tell North Narrabeen’s Jordy Lawler. The young talent paddled out and after a series of critical backhand manoeuvres scored a 9.5 winning the $500 cheque.
Le-Ba’s James Wood was awarded the Rhondda Harrison Surfer of the Series Award averaging 6.72 on all his waves ridden throughout the Series. Perfect Wave Travel, BOSCH and TEE INK proudly support the Jim Beam Surftag.