Posted on 24/04/2018 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Island Brings It Home
Island Surfboards won the fifth Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Teams Challenge and Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy on Sunday 15 April at Summerland Beach.
In what can only be called challenging conditions, Island won the event for the second time with Sandy Ryan captaining the team for both the 2015 and 2018 victories.
The competition was changed from Saturday due to predicted wild weather and organisers were up at dawn on Sunday to determine if conditions would allow the event to proceed.
Event Organiser Geoff Owens made the call at 7am and surfers braved the wild, wet weather to gather on the beach for a briefing, followed by a Welcome To Country and Smoking Ceremony from Boon wurrung Community member Steve Parker.
The gutsy grommets (surfers aged 14 and under) and Malibu riders were first to paddle through the large swell rolling off the point before the teams took to the waters based on the judges’ draw.
The less than perfect waves did not deter the highly skilled surfers with each giving it their all and making the most of every ride. The loyal crowd was rewarded with an impressive display of skill, determination and a little bit of comedy including Simon Mc Shane paddling in on a broken board.
After the first two rounds, it was decided to cut the competition short. “Every team got to surf in the heats, then the judges decided to move the first three teams of each heat straight through to the final due to the weather,” explained Geoff.
The teams battled it out, with some brilliant surfing and fierce competition. Island took the lead in the early stages, but at the final progress tally, Team EP had just edged ahead and the result hung in the balance as the final surfers took to the water.
The last moments of the competition were a hilarious race to the finish line as team members did almost anything to get the points needed to qualify for a place in the messy shore break.
In the end it all came down to guts, determination, teamwork and skill. Team ‘EP’, captained by Nick Fostin took out second prize and third prize was won by ‘United Smiths’, captained by Matt Crooks. Last year’s winners ‘Archysurf’ came in fourth with ‘Newhaven Spoonbills’ in fifth and ‘Woolamai Hards’ in sixth place.
At the end of the competition, everyone gathered on the beach for a minute’s silence and then a ‘flouro wave’ in support of the event’s chosen cause ‘One Wave’ - the non-profit surf community tackling mental health issues.
A wide range of prizes and awards was given out at the presentation ceremony at the Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The competitors and their families also helped celebrate the fifth anniversary of the National Surfing Reserve, tucking into slices of a fabulous ocean blue birthday cake.
Highlights of the award presentation ceremony included Chad Garrett winning a custom surfboard from Island Surfboards - the award for Best Performance by an Unsponsored Surfer. The Phillip Island RSL Team Spirit Award was presented to Sam Guzzardi and his Barrel of Fun team, making their first appearance at the competition. In a terrific gesture of sportsmanship, Carl Wright, gifted his Rip Curl Islantis Highest Scoring Wave Award – a GPS Watch – to delighted team member, grommet Noah Goldsbury.
The fifth Surfing Teams Challenge was a fun, inclusive community event, which represents the core values of the Surfing Reserve – to share, respect and preserve our wonderful beaches. Each year, the event is supported by a range of local business, with Westernport Water joining Bass Coast Shire Council and Phillip Island Nature Parks as major sponsors this year. Generous sponsorship from Island Surfboards, Phillip Island RSL, Newhaven College, Karoon Gas, Cape Kitchen, Ramada Resort and Rip Curl/Islantis, Reece Plumbing, Pro Surf Coaching and San Remo IGA, also helped lift this year’s event to a new level.
“Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to hold this event and continue raising awareness of the National Surfing Reserve,” said Event Organiser Geoff Owens.
“Once again, it was a great day and I want to thank everyone for coming and continuing to support this community surfing event held in our wonderful National Surfing Reserve.”
See you all next year!
Check out the full list of results, post event photos and updates all year round on Facebook @PhillipIslandnsr, Instagram @PhillipIslandnsr and Twitter @nsr_pi
Sally O’Neill 0408 101 976 email@example.com
Eleanor McKay - 0422 313 847 firstname.lastname@example.org