The Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club is the toast of Australian surfing with a convincing victory in the inaugural Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle National Final at Cronulla yesterday.
Snapper Rocks took control of the event on Day 2 in a consistent 3-4ft swell to take the title with 3780 points ahead of Elouera Boardriders Club (3250), Merewether Surfboard Club (3020) and Queenscliff Boardriders Club (2870).
The all-star Queensland team consisted of five-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson, ASP World Tour surfer Mitch Crews, former pro tour surfer Jay Phillips, leading pro junior Mitch Parkinson and top juniors Holly-Sue Coffey and Quinn Bruce.
‘This was such an amazing event and experience for everyone,’ Parkinson said. ‘It’s great that boardriding gets this sort of exposure in an event as big as this. I hope this is going to be a regular event and I want to congratulate my team-mates for some amazing surfing over the two days.’
Snapper Rocks pocketed $20,000 for the win plus another $2000 courtesy of two wins in the Skins heats by Parkinson.
Sixteen of Australia’s top clubs qualified for this weekend’s event, which was the culmination of the biggest grassroots boardriders event series in Australian surfing history with more than $100,000 in prize money. It involved local clubs in seven state qualifying rounds and culminated in this weekend’s two-day National Final at North Cronulla.
Each team of seven included two juniors (one male and one female), four Open age surfers (three male and one female) and one over-35 surfer (male or female). An exciting event format had club teams battle it out in Pairs competition, five-person Teams competition and a Skins competition. The National Final included a lucrative, club-take-all Skins format across 10 heats with a $1000 jackpot in each heat.
Western Australia’s Yallingup Boardriders held the overnight lead, but the overall leaderboard tally took a dramatic turn during a pulsating round of Tag Team semi-finals when Snapper Rocks snatched the lead for the first time. Yallingup, along with fellow contenders North Narrabeen and Merewether, all failed to reach the final opening the door for Snapper.
It was a knockout blow for Yallingup who had already failed to reach the semi-final of the Pairs.
The path continued to clear for Snapper Rocks when they reached the final of the Pairs after Jay Phillips and Stephanie Gilmore eliminated North Narrabeen’s team of Chris Davidson and Laura Enever in the semi-final. Phillips and Gilmore completed the job in the Pairs final to defeat Merewether’s Luke Egan and Philippa Anderson in the final.
In a busy day for Parkinson he also surfed two Skins heats, winning one before he was eliminated by Kirra’s Asher Pacey.
Snapper was looking to complete the domination in the final of the Tag Team but were edged out by local club Elouera Boardriders who scored a massive upset win in front of a huge amount of support on the beach and Queenscliff Boardriders. Werri Boardriders finished fourth in the tag team final.
Elouera’s Connor O’Leary was one of the standout surfers during the event and won the Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew Medal for best male surfer. Gilmore won the Layne Beachley Medal for best female surfer.
Seaford’s Dion Atkinson, who will make his debut on the ASP World Tour this year, had a massive second day winning three Skins heats to collect $3000 for his club and he also won the Milwaukee Tools Heavy Duty Hack award.
Final points tally:
Snapper Rocks Surfriders (QLD) 3780
Elouera Boardriders (NSW) 3250
Merewether Surfboard Club (NSW) 3020
Queenscliff Boardriders (NSW) 2870
Yallingup Boardriders (WA) 2860
North Narrabeen Boardriders (NSW) 2660
Seaford Boardriders (SA) 2650
Kirra Surfriders (QLD) 2550
Werri Boardriders (NSW) 2490
Avoca Boardriders (NSW) 2470
Cronulla Sharks Boardriders (NSW) 2450
Torquay Boardriders (VIC) 2350
13th Beach Boardriders (VIC) 2150
D-Bah Boardriders (QLD) 2150
Margaret River Boardriders (WA) 2150
South Arm Boardriders (TAS) 2050
Full results at www.australianboardridersbattle.com.