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Byron Shire
March 29, 2023

Byron Bay wins national boardriders grand final

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The aerial prowess of Dakoda Walters was too much for the competition at Merewhether Beach in Newcastle last weekend. Photo Christopher Smith (Surfing Australia)

Byron Bay Boardriders have pulled off a massive upset beating powerhouse clubs to take out the Australian Boardriders grand final at Newcastle last weekend.

Byron Bay came out firing on the final day with an incredible manoeuvre from Dakoda Walters setting the club on a path to glory. The huge backside tailblow reverse on one of the biggest waves of the whole competition netted the highest score of the day (9.35).

Two massive backhand turns from Soli Bailey and a solid 8.30 score almost solidified Byron Bay’s win before Merewether Surfboard Club fought back. An impressive series of turns from Phillipa Anderson (8.88) took Merewether from fourth to first with just minutes to go.

But the day belonged to Byron Bay Boardriders, winning by a nail-biting margin of just 0.62.

‘The team is so stoked. We’ve been here so many times and just really haven’t performed anywhere near where we should be as a team and as a community from Byron,’ Byron Bay’s open surfer, Soli Bailey said. 

‘To actually come down here and do this is epic. We’ve all definitely wanted it and dreamed about it for a long time.’

Former world number two and Byron Bay’s master surfer, Danny Wills said: ‘It all came together at the right time. I’m just so proud of them. It’s always so hard to come up against these clubs, the best clubs in Australia. We are a very small, little town. 

‘I believe we’re the first team to ever come from round one and take it out. It’s huge. Massive’.

Byron Bay Boardriders Club won with 31.83 points ahead of Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club (31.21) and Merewether Surfboard Club (30.13).

For his efforts Dakoda Walters won the Hyundai Electric Air Show award, while Dane Henry (Kingscliff Boardriders Club) won the Wayne Bartholomew Medal and the Harvey Norman High Performer Award. 

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  1. As a surfer starting back in 1963 this win by Byron Boardriders is a really big deal against Newcastle and Gold Coast areas. WELL DONE guys. Surfing can take you to the far corners of the planet. My fondest memory of surfing was 1976 as a crew member on board a AUS warship in Subic Bay Philippines and a couple of US Navy guys from the Communications Station came over to our ship and invited us to go surfing. I was the only guy on board Derwent who knew what side of the board to wax. I have that photo today snapped by the US guys, much treasured. Our ship lived in that part of the world. Two (2) 5mth deployments in 18mths on an anti submarine frigate. In coming years you will hear a lot more about that part of the world, for the wrong reasons. My father George Walker from John St. Lismore served in that part of the world in the RAAF in WW2 as a Flight Engineer. A service that cost him his sanity and 2 sons that never knew anything about their Dad. Not to mention a Mother (Burringbar) who also served in the RAAF during WW2 she also lost much of her rationality. So the Pings and Putins of this world really send my knuckles white. Wars have a lot of collateral damage not measured as those that are not in the body count. How many of those in Ukraine will suffer a life similar to what I have endured. Three (3) things in life have maintained my life’s compass, the Ocean, Horses and Soul music. Good health and enjoy your day.


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