Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle kicked off today in small and tricky one-foot waves at Stanwell Park. The two-day event played host to some of NSW’s best boardriding clubs, south of the Hawkesbury River, as they battled it out in an attempt to qualify for the National Final, which will take place on Australia Day at Cronulla. In a tense fight that came down to the final heats of the Pairs and Skins division, Werri Beach Boardriders, North Narrabeen Boardriders Club and Elouera Boardriders Club all took part in a ferocious battle as they attempted to grab the valuable scores required to qualify for the two top spots to the National Final. However, when the numbers were crunched it was Werri Beach Boardriders and Elouera Boardriders Club who got the two top spots by less than 500 points. “I’m over the moon,” said Werri Beach Boardriders Team Manager and Skins surfer Dean Bowen. “Werri just pulled together as a club and fought really hard. We only put a team together in the last couple of weeks and unlike a lot of other clubs we had limited options when we were choosing a team. I think that just makes the win so much sweeter.” “I’m really proud of all of the people who competed for us, especially young Angus Farrell. He’s only 14, it was his first event ever and he managed to get a win against some 18-year-olds, which is just an awesome feat.” In other divisions, North Narrabeen’s Davey Cathels wasted little time in the Pairs division successfully nabbing himself the highest heat score of the morning, an 8.17 ride. The powerful natural-footer linked together multiple backside turns to earn himself the score which allowed the North Narrabeen club to move through to the Pairs final ahead of North Steyne Boardriders. “The waves are really tricky out there,” said Cathels. “Fortunately I managed to find one diamond in the rough that allowed for a few turns. I’m just enjoying being down here with all the guys from North Narrabeen Boardriders. There’s a good camaraderie with all the guys who are competing. We’ve all stayed down here and watched each others heats and basically encouraged each other to try and surf the best we can.” Former World Championship Tour competitor and Surfing NSW Head Judge Drew Courtney was thoroughly impressed with the level of surfing he saw over the weekend. “Despite the small waves, we saw a very high level of surfing from all clubs involved,” said Courtney. “If this level of surfing is any indication of what we’ll see in the National Final then I think we’re going to be in for a mind-blowing show.” The NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, secured two qualifying events for NSW, in Forster and Wollongong. NSW also secured the national final in Cronulla on January 25 – 26. The Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle also includes a Monster Raffle giveaway with one lucky ticket holder to drive away in a new Toyota RAV4. Other prizes include a Billabong pack valued at more than $1500 and a Nikon 1 AW1 camera valued at up to $1000. The Monster Raffle is open to all Surfing Australia affiliated boardrider clubs with proceeds returning to the boardriders club community. In a further incentive to the clubs that make the National Final, the four junior female surfers from the four highest placed clubs will be invited to be part of the Surfing Australia documentary Wildcard. Wildcard is a one hour documentary following the four female surfers as they are given the chance of a lifetime to win a wildcard spot into the Open division at the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly in February, 2014. The four will be invited to the Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre (HPC) for a week-long selection camp to see who will win the wildcard. This event is supported by the Be the Influence – Tackling Binge Drinking initiative, part of the Australian Government’s National Binge Drinking Strategy addressing youth binge drinking and raising awareness of the long and short term impacts of harmful drinking among young people through sport sponsorships and other activities. The Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle is proudly supported by Be the Influence – Tackling Binge Drinking, Billabong, Toyota, Nikon, Surfing Australia, Surfing NSW, Destination NSW, the Association of Surfing Professionals and Milwaukee. For more information on the Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle, check out www.australianboardridersbattle.com]]>
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