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Perfect point surf final day of Cricks Noosa Festival

Sierra Lerback and Mele Saili © Noosa Festival of Surfing



Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing

Noosa Heads, Australia
7 - 14 March 2015

Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing wraps at First Point

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 March, 2015 - Noosa Heads, Australia - As a festival begun on the swell-deprived, choppy waves of Noosa’s Main Beach, the conclusion of the 2015 Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing could not have been more contrasting. From the outset of Saturday’s finals day, the elements conspired to create a scene more perfect than could possibly be contrived.

The flurry of finals commenced with the remaining semi and reperchage rounds. Now at the pointy end of competition, it is challenging now to reflect on the best, such was the exceptional calibre across the board.

US visitor, Hudson Ritchie, surfed a stellar heat to join Ben Considine (VIC) and the outstanding heat winner, Joel Skinner (NSW) in the final of the Pacific Longboarder Junior Men’s divison, while in the LED Design Women’s Under 18, Tully White (NSW) and Tori Farmer (QLD) faced an insurmountable challenge from the States, fellow Hawaiians Mason Schremmer and the always excellent Kirra Seale and Californian Lola Mignot absolutely charging in the almost perfect waves.

Perennial standout, Ray Gleave © Noosa Festival of Surfing

The semis of the Golden Breed Noserider were nothing short of staggering. Current world champion set the benchmark with over 65 seconds of tip time clocked from his two highest scoring waves, Troy Mothershead a little under eight seconds behind to take the first two finals slots. But round two saw the sublime become ridiculous, as Christian Wach, four-time division winner, defied physics, falling just three seconds short of the magic century with 96.41 seconds of nose time.

Age meant nothing across the next collection of divisions. Under the analytical and admiring eye of the great Joel Tudor, the Lemon Wax Under 15 boys finalists surfed beyond their handful of years, Tom Morat showing great promise and improvement, Angus O’Malley really mastering the logging style, but Kai Annetts showing unparalleled competency to take a fantastic win.

The LED Design Under 18 ladies surfed spectacularly for the all-American final, Honolua Blomfield unlucky to not find a high score, Kirra Seale again surfing brilliantly to claim third, while Lola Mignot and Rachael Tilly were simply untouchable. In the end, Tilly had the edge, Mignot relinquishing for a very honourable second.

Dave Wilson piloted his big, red battleship to an impressive win in the Salty Dog Men’s 65 & Over, certainly no slouch on the freight train peelers of a dropping tide, while Ballina’s Eric Walker wrapped up his years in the Surf Life Saving Sunscreen 60+ division with his sixth consecutive win.

Jordan Spree © Noosa Festival of Surfing

Mike Pimm brought his excellent skills back to the festival in 2015 with a strong win in the Cricks Noosa 55+, Scott Ford thrilled to take out the In Noosa 50+ and a stoked Ricky Judalena gaining the upper hand over the genial Michael Takayama in the Kennards Hire 40+.

After a year off, Peppie Simpson returned to once more claim victory in the Baby on Board Women’s Open. Although Kiwi, Sasha Brownlie, racked up some brilliant rides ahead of Noosa local, Marnie Morat, Simpson proved once more exactly why she is a multiple champion here at Noosa.

The team from McTavish Surfboards saw Ray Gleave back at Noosa like he’d never left, still with his textbook signature drop-knee and clocking big scores. Matt Chojnacki did likewise, but despite some healthy scores from teammates, Pat Saunders and Roisin Carolan, the Foam Symmetry team, led by Californian Devon Howard and Noosa’s own Matt Cuddihy, produced consistent scores for the title in the Classic Malibu Teams Challenge.

It was interesting to see the diversity of style in the Almora Surf Men’s Open – a division formerly dominated by high performance surfing. Heat Winner, Joe Rickabaugh – a newcomer to the Noosa Festival – was sublime on his traditional singlefin, winning out with trim, grace and exceptional noserides.

So too for the girls in the Goddess Women’s Open, with Mele Saili likewise surfing straight out of the old school and into first place with exquisite finesse over a more performance-oriented heat.

Jordan Spee definitely takes the honourable mention for a third place in a very tough finals heat of the World Surfaris Old Mal, Harrison Roach and Jack Norton claiming the one-two on their pre-1968 equipment.

Jack Norton in the World Surfaris Old Mal final © Noosa Festival of Surfing

None could deny that Christian Wach was favourite heading into the final of the Golden Breed Noserider and a strong single opening wave of over 23 seconds seemed to confirm suspicions. But, not content with playing second fiddle for the third year in a row, Bowie Pollard put everything on the line – or on the nose – defeating Wach on his last wave by less than a single second to finally emerge King of the Noseriders.

It was three-for-three in the Seaglass Project Finless Pro, Braden Weir returning once more to decimate an otherwise highly talented field. All surfers were excellent but Braden was, quite simply, Braden, claiming the crown for the third consecutive year.

Braden Weir, finless champion © Noosa Festival of Surfing

Edouard Delpero completed a very successful week for both he and his brother, Antoine. Finalist in the Jeep Challenge, Edouard surfed well against last year’s winner, Harrison Roach, and two world champions in Harley Ingleby and Josh Constable, and in such company, even his fourth place was highly admirable. Roach was knocked from his perch as the inaugural champion, although surfing impeccably, and it was current world longboard champion, Harley Ingelby, who continued his winning streak.

Edouard Delpero © Noosa Festival of Surfing

Another all-American final saw Karina Rozunko dethrone last year’s victor, Honolua Blomfield, in the Maui Jim Women’s Pro. Fickle sets of waves perhaps didn’t provide the opportunities in Honolua’s favour, but there is no denying that Karina deserved the win after some exceptional surfing.

The final event of the day, and indeed, of the 2015 Cricks Noosa Festival, was the final of the Vans Duct Tape Invitational. When Joel Tudor invited Troy Mothershead to this year’s Duct Tape event, Joel later admitted on stage to the festival crowd, he had received a swathe of negativity.

But, as he went on to say, with Mothershead’s successful and resounding win in the Duct Tape grand final, defeating multiple winner, Alex Knost, Tyler Warren and Ryan Burch, all the naysayers could kiss his… well, we’re sure we don’t need to elaborate!

Duct Tape Invitational winner Troy Mothershead © Noosa Festival of Surfing

A wonderful gathering filled the XXXX Summer Beach Bar for the presentations, all finalists given comendations and rapturous applause for their success over the 8 Days of Pure Stoke.

Hawaiians Michael and Kaimana Takayama were the lucky recipients of the competitor prize draw of a glorious, luxurious week for two in the Maldives, courtesy of World Surfaris and Malaysia Airlines and none could be more worthy. The Noosa Festival learned of the sad passing of Michael’s father just this morning and it was with our deepest condolences that we were humbled and honoured to present the father and son with their prize.

Festival co-director, Sam Smith, usually so elusive in the public eye, took to the stage in beautiful tribute to her father, Phil Jarratt, the man who has been integral in the creation and continuance of the Cricks Noosa Festival of Surfing for almost two decades.

Jarratt announced that this would be his last year, stepping down to make way for his daughter to take the reins. Josh Constable then presented Jarratt with a beautiful, handcrafted Creative Army surfboard, shaped by Constable himself, in thanks for Jarratt’s tireless hard work over so many years.

A musical evening concluded the festival, the Hi Boys, Pat Capocci and The Salt Water Cowboys taking to the stage, first on the beach and later at the wonderful Café Le Monde, to wrap up the festival in true style; good vibes, great friends and pure stoke.

Tommy Leitch

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