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Grommets & gurus star Day 7 of Noosa Festival




Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing

Noosa Heads, Australia
7 - 15 March 2015

Nearly flawless lineup graces First Point Noosa

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 March, 2015 - Semi finalists of the Jeep Challenge were first to revel in the glorious surf, the waves tailor-made for this multiple discipline event. Surfing in four ways – longboard, shortboard, finless and bodysurfing – the eight contenders were vying for the four best scores across the two heats.

Two world champions, one current, one former, made the final quartet in Harley Ingleby and Josh Constable respectively. Last year’s winner, Harrison Roach brought three of the four 2014 finalists back into contention, with Frenchman, Edouard Delpero locking in the highest score of the round to make up the spread.

There was a time when the junior age divisions saw a more shortboard-oriented style of surfing, the field of competitors presenting their potential, but still very much a way to go. Not so any more.

Round one of the Pacific Longboarder Under 18 boys blew minds. Jordan Spee excelled once more, as did fellow Sunshine-Coaster, Harrison Muscat, while Americans Evan Micele, Kaimana Takayama and Hudson Ritchie induced more than a few hollers and rounds of applause from an appreciative crowd.

New Caledonian young gun showed outstanding progression over the last 12 months, narrowly missing the immediate finals berth, but getting another shot in the afternoon’s reperchage. Kai Annetts of Ms. Surfboards and the US entrant, Gus Day, were surfing on par with the festival’s best, belying their age and presenting a very bright future for traditional-style longboarding, not only in their surfing but also in the profound humility and sportsmanship they embody.

And then came the Best Show on Earth - the Vans Duct Tape Invitational. Sam Crookshanks was again in fine form. Up against some of the finest single fin longboarders in the world, Sam certainly had his work cut out, but a fine brace of long noserides through to the beach had the young gun holding his own. Local knowledge paid off, and it was through to the semis for the wildcard.

The host of this exclusive event, Joel Tudor, offered in depth insight for the attentive audience, but all eyes were on the water, many too afraid to so much as blink lest they miss any of the action. Former event winner, Alex Knost, combined outstanding skill and yogi-like flexibility, working his board through impossible sections, arching into long noserides and jiving his way through tight cutbacks to claim a semifinals berth and Troy Mothershead again showed phenomenal talent on the tip as he had previously in the Golden Breed Noserider.

Joining them, local expert shaper, Thomas Bexon, last year's winner, Harrison Roach, Tyler Warren, Ryan Burch and Kai Ellice-Flint.

The LED Design Under 18 Women showed many of the surfers from the Open division returning for the age category. The youth are the future, and these ladies are that future’s finest exponents. Hawaiians Honolua Blomfield and Kirra Seale again decimated the field, both with massive heat scores, and it was an American dominated event, with Lola Mignot and Rachael Tilly making up the numbers.

Reperchages of the boys’ divisions were swiftly followed by the semi final round of the Vans Duct Tape Invitational, and Noosa’s natural amphitheatre of First Point was standing room only. Huey join the festival and the waves were the best seen all week. Despite not making the cut for the finals, Sam Crookshank was again a crowd favourite, especially with the locals. Sam surfed a great heat and was unlucky to miss out, but the surfing of Americans Ryan Burch and Tyler Warren was absolutely impeccable.

Alex Knost, unsurprisingly, was sensational, textbook positioning combined with critical cutbacks and noserides seeing him sailing through to the final in second place. Commentator Joel Tudor confessed that Troy Mothershead had initially been a debated invitee, but the stunning tip time that we have seen of Troy all week, so precise and calculated, gave him a very successful win and place in the final.

The LED Design Under 18 Girls wrapped up a sensational day of surfing and, while the waves kept rolling around First Point, The Band of Frequencies and Pete Cullen serenaded the appreciative crowd in the XXXX Summer Beach Bar.

Tommy Leitch

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