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Ben Player wins Human Cronulla Shark Isle Challenge


The Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge

IBA World Bodyboarding Tour
Shark Island, NSW Australia
16 June - 15 July 2007

Ben Player wins Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 9 July, 2007 : - - Australian Ben Player pulled off one of the most exciting wins in the events history to take out the 11th Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge for 2007. Player was on fire all day and his surfing during the final was flawless.

The event got under way in perfect 4 - 5 ft conditions which saw one of the best days of bodyboarding ever seen for the competiton. Conditions were unbelievable with constant wave breaking for the entire 4 hours of competition.

The quarters and semis saw some upsets the biggest being 2001 CSIC Champion and 2x World champ Damian King. King who normal excells in the perfect conditions could not find enough open barrels to progress, " Being in the first heat is always the hardest especially with the tide. The were waves but I just couldn't find the good mone to amke me progress."

Another shock was an interference in semi two against local hope Dave Ballard and Hawaiian Mike Stewart. Both were set to progress straight into the final with 5 minutes to go when a set wave approached and both competitors started paddling for it. Ballard claimed to be the one that was snaked but the panel of judges believed differently. "Yeah mate, it wasn't the way I would have liked to bow out but yeah - if the judges saw it that way well that's there call. I saw it differently."


Ben Player : photo


With the 40min final starting at just before 3pm the finalist knew that in order to win perfection was needed. Waves were constant and reeling around the reef. With the afternoon sun and crisp offshore winds the Island turned it on for the thousands of spectators that lined the esplanade....

The final saw Austrailan Ben Player, South African Mark McCarthy and two Hawaiians Mike Stewart and Jeff Hubbard. Each competitor were pushing the limits so hard that at one stage the lead had changed hands about half a dozen times. Deep barrels and radical moves saw what has to be said as one of the most epic finals in the CSIC history.

As the final wrapped up it was Player who was pushing it, barrel for barrel, delivering some of the biggest barrel rolls and backflips out of the surge bowl, the most feared section of the infamous Shark Island reef. In the end the final was his - deep solid  tubes and a timeless display of well executed manoeuvres ensure that the Player picked up his first CSIC win in 11 years of competing.

"You don't know how I feel right now", expressed a very jubilent Ben Player. "I have came close in the past so to finally clinch my first Shark Island title makes me fells so good."  "Player played his cards right this year, he waited for the bombs and when the bombs came he stood out the most.


Mark McCarthy : photo

Everyone was surfing so good, basically to win that final you needed perfect 10's and Player got two of them. It was definitely one of the closest contests we've ever witnessed." Contest Director Mark Fordham recalled.

Runner-up, South African Mark McCarthy only just came second by the smallest of margins." Oh the final was incredible - just perfect waves. I was just so stoked to make it past the semis so the final was an added bonus.

Of coarse winning it would have been sick though in normal circumstances my two highest wave scores most properly would have got me over the line. It was just great to surf such perfect waves with such radical bodyboarders, everyone was just pushing the limits it was crazy."

Finishing in third place was 9x World Champion and 2000 winner Mike Stewart. Stewart who excelled in the perfect conditions couldn't come up with the goods to take out his second CSIC title.


Mike Stewart : photo


Final results

Heat 1
1) Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii) 4 Red
2) Mark McCarthy (Safr) 2 White
3) Mike Stewart (Hawaii) 3 Yellow
4) Ben Player (Aus) 1 Black

Semi final results

Heat 1 
1) Mark McCarthy (Safr) 2 Red
2) John Showell  (Aus)  3 White
3) Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) 4 Yellow
4) Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii) 1 Black

Heat 2
1) Ben Player (Aus) 2 Red
2) Dave Ballard (Aus) 3 White
3) Mike Stewart (Hawaii) 1 Yellow
4) Toby Player (Aus) 4 Black  

Quarter final results

Heat 1  
1) John Showell  (Aus)  2 Red
2) Nick Ormerod(Aus) (local)  3 White
3) Damian King (Aus) 4 Yellow
4) Mark McCarthy (Safr) 1 Black

Heat 2  
1) Pierre Costes (France) 4 Red
2) Sam Bennet (Aus) 3 White
3) Jeff Hubbard (Hawaii) 2 Yellow
4) Dave Hubbard (Hawaii) 1 Black

Heat 3  
1) Dave Ballard (Aus) 2 Red
2) Michael Novy (Aus) 4 White
3) Ben Player (Aus) 1 Yellow
4) Brad Jackson (Aus) 3 Black

Heat 4   
1) Dave Winchester (Aus) 4 Red
2) Dallas Singer (Aus) 3 White
3) Mike Stewart (Hawaii) 1 Yellow
4) Toby Player (Aus) 2 Black  

Previous reports:
# 1 :
The Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge gears up
# 2 : Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge: new IBA rules
# 3 :
Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge all set to roll
# 4 : Waves on horizon for Human Cron. Shark Island Comp. 

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Mark Fordham

Bodyboarding - Surfersvillage


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