Newcastle Open 2017
The forecast looked grim, with predictions of flat to 1-2 foot, but Caves Beach delivered again and in a spectacular fashion. Offshore winds all weekend with waves varying in height from 2 to solid 5 foot sets. Saturday’s comp was held at Frenchmans with an A frame wave that kept building during the day. The southerly swell picked up even more overnight and we were forced to move down the beach and once again the surf built during the day. It was a much more difficult and less perfect wave, but still good for a competition.
There were some casualties though! Dean Warner, Mick Jones and David Howard all creased the noses of their skis. And not to be outdone, Graham Roberts rolled under a set wave at Frenchmans resulting in his ski being broken in half. Graham was having a bad run, as in his previous heat he had to roll under a wave knowing that a shark was swimming alongside. Surfers were called in, allowing the shark some time to move on. A seal was also spotted in the lineup. Garry Ross and Steve Howarth entertained the crowd with their rock hopping skills on the paddle out.
Despite all this, the surf on Saturday was some of the best contest surf we have seen since the last time we were at Caves Beach for the Aussie Titles. The qualifier guys and girls really stepped up, showing how competitive this section is. Brett Titterton loved the near perfect conditions, making it to the semi final of the Open. Scott Murnain and Mick Jones both surfed very competitively making it to the Quarter Finals of the Open. The skill level of all the qualifiers has improved greatly. Savannah Campbell also took out a few scalps, showing no fear in the larger waves on Saturday afternoon. It was great to see Terry Oehm, Steve Howarth, Mick Feenan, Steve Sargeant and Andrew Robinson back in the comp scene, all three guys add to the fun atmosphere on the beach. Andrew was awarded the Encouragement Prize, we hope to see his smiling face again.
The Open Final was won by Dale Randhall who caught a number of great waves, performing some radical maneuvers in the changing and challenging waves. Tony Cherry attacked the waves in his usual aggressive and smooth style to win second place. Rees Duncan, pulled off a couple of airs and finished third. And Bill Campbell who had injured his knee earlier, came fourth.
The Masters Blasters gave an exciting performance with all four surfers going at it blow for blow. Rees Duncan took revenge in this final taking out first. Dale Randhall was second, Graham Lancaster third and Tony Cherry fourth. These four guys push each other constantly and Australians will be totally behind these surfers as they battle with the World’s best in Spain next year. All four are super special, not only in their incredible talent, but they are always there to help judge, carry gear and give advice to up and coming surfers. Dale was president for many years and this year the other three guys are on the committee and committed to growing our sport and making it enjoyable for everyone.
The Grand Masters Final was won by Bill Campbell who struggled to lift his leg onto his ski in the shore dump and starting the heat 7 minutes into the final. Dave Howard, in his first Grand Masters Final came second and broke his ski on his last wave on the shore. Russell Hudson who had performed well all weekend, with some very on the edge moves, came in third. And Col Samways who helped to run the competition all weekend finished in fourth position. Col had one great wave, but in the unpredictable conditions struggled to get a second good wave. Thanks to Col for organising the comp, it was awesome!
The Veterans section was a battle between two guys who have to be “wave whispers”, seriously these two guys always get the best waves in any heat! Col Sugars came out ahead of Garry Ross. Well done to our Vets!
Now for the most competitive section…the Qualifiers! Mick Jones won the final, catching some long waves from deep inside and performing some great carves on the face. Scott Murnain came in second, surfing extremely well in the larger conditions. The previous night, Scott helped Mick to fix his broken ski – another great example of the bond between competitors. Savannah Campbell showed that she can mix it with the boys coming in third and Brett Titterton took out fourth place (after making the Open Semi).
What a GREAT comp! Congratulations to everyone involved and a special thank you to Col Samways. See you all at Cresent Heads in September.
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