Nathan Webster : photo Surfing Australia
Maitland Toyota Open
ASP 4 Star WQS Mens Event
ASP 5 Star WQS Womens Event
Merewether Newcastle, NSW
12 - 18 March 2007
EXPERIENCE TRIUMPHS OVER YOUTH IN MAITLAND TOYOTA OPEN
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 March, 2007 : - - VETERAN surfer Nathan Webster fought off a charge from the younger brigade today in the $US75,000 Maitland Toyota Open at Merewether Beach. It has been a decade since Webster, known as "Noodles", made the final of the same four-star World Qualifying Series event in Newcastle.
Now 33 and retired from pro surfing, Webster said he decided to enter the contest because it was "only a short trip up the freeway" from his home at North Narrabeen. Webster, despite not having competed in more than a year, started his round-three heat with an eye-catching ride that scored 8.33 points out of a possible 10.
But burgeoning trio of Vincent Duvignac (France), Yujiro Tsuji (Japan) and Drew McPherson (Nords Wharf, NSW) did their best to wear him down with a succession of energetic manoeuvres in metre-high waves whipped up by a strong southerly wind.
Dave Reardon-Smith : photo Surfing Australia
Duvignac (total of 13.34 points) actually jumped ahead in the dying minutes but Webster (14.86) displayed composure in grabbing a late ride to regain the lead just before the hooter. McPherson (12.23), who, like Duvignac, is 19, struggled to reproduce the form that snared him the Newcastle Pro Junior title on Sunday but would have learned a lot from sharing the water with Webster.
"I haven't competed in more than a year, but I feel like I've still got what it takes," explained Webster, who reached the ranking of No.6 in the world during his 10 years on tour. "When I was the same age as these young guys, I was really hungry to succeed so I know how all that extra pressure can make you feel.
"But now I can just chill out and hopefully pass on some of my experience to them." Merewether boardriders Travis Lynch, Paul Parkes and Rhys Smith called on their local knowledge to eke out high-scoring rides from the inconsistent conditions. All three progressed to the third round, where 192 of the original 240 competitors are still in contention.
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Lynch, who only gained entry to the event after a no-show, rode his luck by scraping through his first heat yesterday then coming from behind to win his second.
Among the other Australians to stand out were 2003 finalist Matt Bemrose (Curl Curl ), Brent Dorrington (Gold Coast), Maddison Williams (Coffs Harbour), Byron Bartlett (Ulludulla), Brendan Leckie (Gold Coast), Tim Stevenson (Torquay), Tim Wrench (Ulludulla) and Lincoln Taylor (Stradbroke Island).
Internationals to impress today included Japanese hot shots Nobuyuki Osawa and Tatsuya Fukagawa, Mexican David Rutherford, Brazilian Patrick Tamberg, Hawaiian Clay Marzo and American mainlanders Wyatt Taubman and Tarik Khasshoggi. Notable overseas competitors bowing out were Britain's Oli Adams, Brazilians Jorge Spanner and Piai Emerson, and Hawaiian trio Kevin Sullivan, Rory Parker and Jason Frederico.
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