The Australian Surf Championships have concluded after a highly successful 17-days of competition spanning five disciplines and involving more than 500 surfers. Port Macquarie turned it on with some epic conditions across three venues.
This year, the event commenced with the Australian Longboard and Logger Titles, featuring seven-days of small but clean conditions at Rainbow Beach, Bonny Hills. The competition saw a dominating performance from the Noosa Malibu Club, particularly Landen Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD), who made history by competing in four finals, winning two, and securing the runner-up position in two. Additionally, 15-year-old Mia White (Noosa Heads, QLD) secured victory in both the U18 Junior Women’s Longboard and U18 Junior Women’s Logger Titles.
The Masters Longboard divisions, which encompass the Over 40s to Over 70s highlighted the depth and and quality of surfing from all of the state teams.
72-year-old Rosie Sinkora (Noosa Heads, QLD) only started surfing seven years ago and is now a national champion. Her enthusiasm for the sport was an inspiration to everyone.
Sinkora said: “In my late 20s and early 30s I was Australian Open Women’s marathon champion and also cross country running champion twice. In my 50s I won a few cross country ski races. My win in the nationals wasn’t too difficult, as I was the only woman over 70. I enjoyed surfing with the over 60 gals though.”
Surfing Australia Contest Director Glen Elliott said: “The Australian Surf Championships embodies the spirit of longboarding. It’s about family, fraternity, and the joy of old friends while also making new connections.”
The Australian Para Surfing Titles were next and took place at Rainbow Beach, providing the perfect setting for the athletes to showcase their skills across nine divisions.
Joel Taylor (Lennox Head, NSW), who suffered a severe back injury in a freak accident at Hawaii’s Pipeline in 2001 that left him in a wheelchair, took out the Prone 1 Men’s Australian Title.
Taylor said: “It was one of the best days of my life. I competed in my first Australian Championships as a 12-year-old bodyboarder in 1993, to be back and competing 30 years later as a paraplegic at the 2023 Australia Para Surfing Titles was unbelievable. To come away with the win, my first ever Australian Title at age 42, with my family and friends on the beach was a dream come true.”
Elliott said: “Joel’s performance was truly remarkable, reigniting his passion and determination to become a world champion in a different discipline. His achievement at the Australian Surf Championships has resonated throughout the global bodyboarding and surfing community, with lots of well-wishes and congratulations for this extraordinary accomplishment.”
The Australian Bodyboard Championships followed at Lighthouse Beach with 3-4ft light offshore winds before organisers relocated the competition to North Haven Beach, which provided some of the best bodyboarding waves ever encountered at the Australian Surf Championships.
The event concluded with the Australian Shortboard Championships also held at North Haven Beach.
Elliott said: “Once again, we were blessed with superb waves throughout the contest. The Open Men’s and Women’s Titles were of Challenger/Qualifying Series standard, featuring barrelling peaks that led to high scores and spectacular surfing.”
Two junior world champions competed in the Men’s final with Jarvis Earle (Cronulla, NSW) the WSL World Junior Champion and Willis Droomer (Jan Juc, VIC) the Under 16 ISA World Junior Champion.
While both Maddy Job (Burleigh Heads, QLD) and Ben Lorenson (Sunshine Beach, QLD) delivered top-notch performances in their semi-finals to secure spots in the final and a shot at the $4000 winner-takes-all prize.
Elliott said: “This year’s Australian Surf Championships at Port Macquarie were a huge success, with fantastic waves throughout the 17-days of competition. The stoke from all of the surfers was next level. I want to extend my congratulations to the teams, event crew and the wonderful people of Port Mac for their generous support of the Australian Surf Championships, which continue to get bigger and better every year.”
For a full list of results go to the website HERE.
Entry to the Australian Titles is by state qualification or invitation.
The Australian Surf Championships are proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW as well as Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Le Tan, Stroud Homes, Bonny Hills Beach Hotel, Jim Beam, Stoddart Group, One Agency North Haven and Surfing NSW.