Exceptional performances mark the conclusion of the Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles presented by Rip Curl

Published on 26/05/2024

The 2024 Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles presented by Rip Curl concluded at Djarrak / Bells Beach, with Landen Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD) making history by dropping two perfect 10 point rides on his way to claiming victory in both the Mens Longboard and Junior Boys divisions. This event, spanning three days, was a vibrant mix of competition and cultural celebration, showcasing the top Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander surfers from across Australia.

The Open Mens Division kicked off the day in pristine three-to-four foot waves at Bells Beach, with the early morning sun shining on the competitors. Russ Molony (Central Coast, NSW) started at the Bowl, locking into a couple of swooping carves to receive a 4.17 ride. Otis Carey (Suffolk Park, NSW) set the pace early in the final with a powerful 7.00 ride at Rincon. The competitors then switched positions, with three heading to the Bowl and Russ moving to Rincon.

Jordie Campbell (Torquay) made his presence felt with a clean combination of backhand snaps. Being the only goofy-footer in the final, he provided a point of difference in his surfing, scoring a 5.67 ride. Carey extended his lead further with an impressive 8.00 point ride, showcasing his speed and control. Campbell also found a solid second wave, scoring a 6.33 ride, which moved him into second place but was not enough to overtake Carey.

Under the 10 minute mark, Molony used his priority to rip into a set wave, airdropping out of a critical snap to score a 7.43 ride, giving him a shot at the lead. He quickly returned to the lineup and picked up another wave, taking it all the way to the rocks to score a 6.83 and move into second place. However, as the seconds ticked down, no one could find the right wave to overtake Carey, who won with a combined total of 15 points. Molony came in second with 14.26, followed by John Craig (Newcastle, NSW) and Campbell placing third and fourth.

“It was nice to be here with everybody from all the other countries around Australia and surf,” Carey said. 

“The waves were really good; they were a bit slow, but when they came in, they were perfect bowls. We’ve been really blessed today with waves. It’s been a really fun, beautiful morning. Winning is just a plus; for me, winning is being here with everybody, so to take it out is just an extra little bonus.”

Landon Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD) showcased his exceptional talent during the Mens Longboard and Junior Boys divisions, delivering standout performances. In the Open Mens Longboard semi-final, Smales chose the Rincon walls to demonstrate his skills. Utilising the entire length of his board, he walked up and back between the nose and the tail multiple times before executing huge drop knee carves to score a perfect 10.00 ride. This gave him a convincing win and momentum heading into the final.

Before competing in the longboard final, Smales switched to his shortboard for the Junior Boys final. Incorporating his longboard style, Smales flowed seamlessly through the Rincon walls again. To compete with other talented surfers, Smales tapped into the innovative side of the shortboard criteria. Taking off on a critical section, he built up speed before launching into a huge lofty air reverse. Earning his second 10.00 ride of the day and an 18.00 combined total, Smales secured his first win and also the Surf Better Now Wave of the Day.

Charlie Chisolm (Torquay, VIC) placed second on 12.13 with Seth Baillie (SA) and Rylee Duell (Phillip Island, VIC) coming in third and fourth.

Smales went on to dominate the longboard final against Ben Cole (Yamba, NSW), Rhys Collins (Red Hill, VIC), and his brother, Kaiden Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD). Despite the strong performances from his competitors, including an 8.13 ride from Kaiden, Landon’s consistency won him the final convincingly with a combined heat total of 17.57. Kaiden placed second with 15.46, followed by Cole and Collins.

“For my first 10 on the longboard, the wave was just perfect and gave me so many opportunities to nose ride and carve my way through,” Smales said. 

“In the shortboard, that 10 was pretty sick too. The wave also gave me so many opportunities, and I got to tee off some sick snaps and then finish with a big air. It was amazing being down here; we got to score some pumping Bells, and it’s my favourite event to come down to. It was good surfing on the longboard and then being able to surf on the shorty too.”

In the Womens Longboard division, the final was a fun-filled 35 minute heat with six competitors ripping into Rincon walls. The surfers traded waves, showcasing their skills and camaraderie. As the heat came to a close, Mali Legge (NSW) looked solid with a 6.33 ride. However, in the final minute, Jessi Muir (Jan Juc, VIC) backed up an earlier 7.50 ride with a 4.17 to take the lead and win the final.

Placing second was Legge, with Missy McArther (Mullaway, NSW) and Elly Muir (Jan Juc, VIC) coming in third and fourth.

“I saw Mali getting so many waves, so I thought she was going to take it out. It was definitely a shock to me,” Muir said.

“It’s so good surfing with all the girls; the energy is always fun and supportive. We just love each other, so we want to go out there, have fun, and make sure everyone gets a wave. I can surf any conditions with them out there and have a good time.”

Other division winners included Ocea Curtis (Lennox Heads, NSW, Open Women/Junior Girls), Lee Winkler (Coffs Harbour, NSW, Masters Mens) and Brook Silvester (Tugun, NSW, Over 50 Men).

Finals Results:

Open Men

1st – Otis Carey (Suffolk Park, NSW), 15.00
2nd – Russ Molony (Central Coast, NSW), 14.26
3rd – John Craig (Newcastle, NSW), 11.90
4th –  Jordie Campbell (Torquay), 11.60

Open Women 

1st – Ocea Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW), 9.47
2nd – Bohdi Simons (Coolangatta, QLD), 8.83 
3rd – Meg Day (Moonta, SA), 7.33
4th – Kauri Heuston-Connor (Reedy Creek, QLD), 6.27 

Mens Longboard

1st – Landen Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD), 17.57 
2nd – Kaiden Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD), 15.46
3rd – Rhys Collins (Red Hill, VIC), 11.77
4th – Ben Cole (Yamba, NSW), 9.27

Womens Longboard

1st – Jessi Muir (Jan Juc, VIC), 11.67
2nd – Mali Legge (NSW), 11.50
3rd – Missy McArther (Mullaway, NSW), 7.70
4th – Elly Muir (Jan Juc, VIC), 6.16

Masters Men 

1st –  Lee Winkler (Coffs Harbour, NSW), 13.46
2nd – John Craig (Newcastle, NSW), 12.76
3rd – Anthony Hume (Torquay, VIC), 11.00
4th – Glenn Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW), 4.67

Junior Boys

1st – Landon Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD), 18.00
2nd – Charlie Chisolm (Torquay, VIC), 12.13
3rd – Seth Baillie (SA), 8.57
4th – Rylee Duell (Phillip Island, VIC), 7.97

Junior Girls

1st – Ocea Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW), 13.67
2nd – Kauri Heuston-Connor (Reedy Creek, QLD), 13.50
3rd – Bohdi Simons (Coolangatta, QLD), 11.00
4th – Matilda Thearle (Woolooware, NSW), 4.40

Over 50 Men

1st – Brook Silvester (Tugun, NSW), 13.00
2nd – Jay McKenzie (Cronulla, NSW), 9.60
3rd – Glenn Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW), 9.33
4th – Alfred Wellington (Orient Point, NSW), 8.33

Live scores and schedule via australianindigenoussurfingtitles.com.

The Australian Indigenous Surfing Titles is presented by Rip Curl and Headsox and supported by the Victorian Government, Surf Coast Events, VicHealth, Surfing Australia, Play it Safe by the Water, Waddawurrung Traditional Owners, Indigi-Print, Jessi Rebel Art, Cancer Council Sunscreen, Feed Me Surf Coast and Surf Better Now. 

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