The Australian Surf Championships crowned its last eight title winners today at Lighthouse Beach after an epic two days of elite bodyboard competition.
Port Macquarie has provided a stage for big performances over the last 17 days.
In the Open Women’s division it was the east versus the west and the stakes were high, but it was Ebony Schell (WA) who took the glory, winning the two-heat final with speed and style. Schell, the three-time consecutive State Champion couldn’t be happier to have success in Port Macquarie. Today, she won her first Australian Title.
“It feels amazing to win my first Australian Title,” she said.
“Conditions were amazing for us. Yesterday the epic right hand waves and today at Lighthouse beach there have been some really fun left hand options. Waves for everyone.
“The standard was so high out there. Kaylah Pisani (NSW) got an amazing barrel yesterday that scored a nine so that set the bar really high. But all the girls really charged out there.
“Coming over to the east coast to compete in the Australian Championships has been a really positive experience. I love meeting more of the bodyboard community. It’s been such a well organised event and to compete here in Port Macquarie, the bodyboarding mecca, it’s been such a cool place to surf.”
In the Open Men’s there were excellent scores handed out all-round as the athletes went wave-for-wave, pushing the limits. It could have been anyone’s win as Drop Knee winner Jimmy Leayr (NSW), Jake Metcalfe (WA) and John Cruickshank (NSW) impressed the judges. A near-perfect nine for Metcalfe almost had him over the line, before Cruickshank swooped in to back up an already strong set of scores with an eight to solidify his Open Men’s Australian Title.
Cruickshank (43) who won the Open Men’s Title in 1999 was thrilled to be awarded a second Australian Championships crown, “I’m absolutely stoked to win with all my family and friends here to watch.”
In the Drop Knee it was an all NSW showdown. Jimmy Leayr (NSW) and Ryan Duck (NSW) played the game and Duck, a two-time State Champion, was eager to convert his success to the national level, but it was his hometown rival in Leayr (NSW Open Men’s Champion) who nudged the scoreline to take the win by just 1.3.
In the Masters, Shane Chalker (NSW) went back-to-back competing in the finals for both the Over 35’s and Over 45’s. Chalker hasn’t competed since he was 19, but this year got back in the water, competing at club rounds before winning the NSW Titles and, today, winning his first Australian Title in the Over 45’s division.
He showed age is no limitation, putting on a show with the precision of an Open’s athlete and set the bar high for his fellow finalists.
“I’m just so stoked to win, it means so much to me to know I still have the ability to get out there and be a tough competitor against the best bodyboarders in Australia,” said Chalker.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win here today in Port Macquarie. I love this sport and the community and being back here is like being amongst family,” said the Forster local.
The youngest and very promising juniors put on an impressive display of skill and sportsmanship today too. Sunny Williams (NSW) is just 13 but surfed well beyond his years.
In the Under 14 Grommet Final the Newcastle athlete stayed busy to keep his competitors at bay. He caught the maximum 10 waves in the 20 minute final and impressed the judges to collect a two-wave heat total of 12.9.
Today’s event concludes the Australian Surf Championships. Surfing Australia CEO Chris Mater praised the Port Macquarie community for its hospitality and support.
“We’re so grateful to the Port Macquarie people for welcoming us to Biripi Country,” said Mater.
“We’ve been blessed to have amazing conditions for the event and to have so many options for our athletes to compete in. Everyone has been so accommodating and it really has proved to be the ideal place for a championship event.”
Port Macquarie Deputy Mayor, Adam Roberts said the event was great for the Port Macquarie people.
“It’s such a fantastic festival of surfing and it’s so good to see Port Macquarie back on the surfing map. We’ve got a slice of paradise and a great community,” said Roberts.
“It was great to see everyone here enjoying our world-class waves and we welcome surfing events here in any capacity. The locals love the surfing custom and community and we love having everyone in town.
“All the event locations were going off over the two-week period with solid waves and everyone was pumped to have options to pick the very best location as conditions changed,” he said.
2022 Australian Bodyboard Championships Results
Over 45 Men – Shane Chalker (NSW)
Over 35 Men – Nathian Davis (NSW)
Open Men – John Cruickshank (NSW)
Open Women – Ebony Schell (WA)
Under 18 Junior Men – Jordan Waights (NSW)
Under 16 Cadet Open – Jai Taylor (QLD)
Under 14 Grommet Open – Sunny Williams (NSW)
Drop Knee – Jimmy Leayr (NSW)