Surfest

20 Mar 2009 0 Share

ASP World Tour surfer Drew Courtney (Aus, NSW) smashed the small waves on offer to move into the final 16 surfers

ASP World Tour surfer Drew Courtney (Aus, NSW) smashed the small waves on offer to move into the final 16 surfers

Sam Lendrum (Aus, NSW) was in great form during the Pro Junior and has continued into the final 16 of the Mark Richards Pro - 2* WQS

Sam Lendrum (Aus, NSW) was in great form during the Pro Junior and has continued into the final 16 of the Mark Richards Pro - 2* WQS

Noah Lane (Aus, Qld) produced an outstanding performance to oust former ASP World Tour surfer Ricky Basnett (Zaf) in the round of 32

Noah Lane (Aus, Qld) produced an outstanding performance to oust former ASP World Tour surfer Ricky Basnett (Zaf) in the round of 32

Joe Haddon (Aus, NSW) put in a solid display of power based surfing but could not get past an in-form Drew Courtney (Aus)

Joe Haddon (Aus, NSW) put in a solid display of power based surfing but could not get past an in-form Drew Courtney (Aus)

Former ASP World Tour surfer Ricky Basnett (Zaf) pulled out all-stops during the round of 32 but could not overcome Pro Junior surfer Noah Lane (Aus)

Former ASP World Tour surfer Ricky Basnett (Zaf) pulled out all-stops during the round of 32 but could not overcome Pro Junior surfer Noah Lane (Aus)

Rebecca Woods (Aus, NSW) demolished her opponent Tiana McNeven (Aus, Qld) to setup a berth in the final 16 surfers

Rebecca Woods (Aus, NSW) demolished her opponent Tiana McNeven (Aus, Qld) to setup a berth in the final 16 surfers

Former ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (Per) easily won her opening heat at the Maitland Toyota Open at Bar Beach

Former ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (Per) easily won her opening heat at the Maitland Toyota Open at Bar Beach

Rebecca Woods (Aus, NSW) casually walked down for her round of 32 heat but there was nothing casual about her surfing as she set the Bar Beach waves alight

Rebecca Woods (Aus, NSW) casually walked down for her round of 32 heat but there was nothing casual about her surfing as she set the Bar Beach waves alight

Drew Courtney (Aus, NSW) easily outpointed Joe Haddon (Aus) to win his round of 32 heat of the Mark Richards Pro at Bar Beach, Newcastle

Drew Courtney (Aus, NSW) easily outpointed Joe Haddon (Aus) to win his round of 32 heat of the Mark Richards Pro at Bar Beach, Newcastle

CURRENT world number five Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan and former Surfest winner Dayyan Neve have made shock exits after just one heat at the Mark Richards Pro.

Seeded number one and two respectively, Buchan and Neve were bundled out of the event by Queenslander Chris Bennetts (Main Beach) and top seed tormenter Tamaroa McComb from Tahiti.

Bennetts’ (12.75) victory never seemed in doubt as Buchan (5.15) just couldn’t find the waves in small, poor conditions at south Bar Beach located about a kilometre north of the main contest site at Merewether beach.

Organisers decided to move the contest early this morning when confronted with a distinct lack of swell.

Buchan, who has won contests at Newcastle’s annual Surfest in U/14, U/16 and junior divisions, was philosophical about his loss.

“Ranking doesn’t mean a lot when the surf is like this,” said Buchan.

“Anyone can find a wave out there.

“I just didn’t find any and that’s what surfing is all about,” he said.

“Obviously I want to do well every time I compete but when the waves are really bad it’s tough to get motivated.

“I love this event and ordinarily I wouldn’t come to a two-star contest but I came because of the prestige and MR (Mark Richards),” said Buchan.

Bennetts' tactical approach to wave selection has seen him charge through the competition and also seen him emerge as one of the ones to watch closely going into Sunday’s finals.

“In man-on-man heats your wave selection is such a huge part of the result and it’s important to get off to a good start and choose the right ones.”

“If you don’t get the highest scoring wave in the first couple of exchanges then you’re not going to get through a heat,” said Bennetts.

Tahitian Tamaroa McComb (11.95) managed to just edge out world tour surfer and 2003 winner of this event, Dayyan Neve (11.00).

McComb reckoned that small waves place a bigger pressure on the mind than on the body.

The Tahitian, who won an event at Burleigh Heads in 2008 in only his third start in the Pro Junior ranks, also believes a bit of luck doesn’t go astray.

“In conditions like this it’s more mental and you have to just be in the right place at the right time and get the good ones,” said McComb.

“I feel great and I’ve been training hard. It’s been a great contest and I love the people here. The waves aren’t great but I’m having a lot of fun.

“Everything from here is a bonus for me. A final would be good but I will just try my best to win every heat I can,” said McComb.

Neve, despite a fondness for Newcastle, isn’t a fan of small and inconsistent waves.

“It’s as easy to get through as it is to get knocked out,” the Sydneysider said.

“If you can get the better waves, it’s just like any size conditions. Out here though you’re forced to tic-tac across them and do anything you can.

“I had no expectations for this contest. I thought I would come out and do the best I could do and see what happens.

“We just saw what happened,” said Neve.

The only world tour surfer left in the competition is Umina’s Drew Courtney.

It is Courtney’s first year competing on the elite tour after ten gruelling years of WQS surfing and his determination to do well at Newcastle was clearly evident today when he outclassed Joe Haddon (Forster, NSW).

Internationals to bow out today include South African pairing Brandon Jackson and Ricky Basnett, as well as Brazilian Jeverson Duarte.

It looks a big ask for an international surfer to win this event, with only Tahitian Tamaroa McComb, South African Travis Logie and Kiwi Richard Christie in the mix for a finals’ berth.

Hopes for a local victory now rest on the shoulders of Sam Lendrum (Catherine Hill Bay) and Craig Anderson (Merewether) after Jesse Adam (Merewether) was knocked out by NSW north coast sensation Clancy Dawson (Kingscliff).

Eighteen-year-old Lendrum (12.75) held off Heath Joske (Nambucca Heads) (10.35), who was runner-up in the junior division at Newcastle in 2007.

Lendrum is surfing well, but doesn’t want to get too far ahead of himself as he is fully aware of the hoodoo that has prevented a local ever holding the trophy aloft at Newcastle.

“Wave selection is even more important today than it was yesterday,” he said.

“In these kind of conditions, to hear the other surfer get a seven-point first wave can really upset an opponent.

“In my mind I knew it would be a big mental block for him and I knew after I got that seven that one more solid score would get me the win.

“This is my second WQS event and now I’m guaranteed at least ninth in this competition, so it’s definitely the best result I’ve ever had.

“I came off a career-high-win at the Oakley Pro Junior earlier this year when I got a fifth placing. My confidence kept rolling and I’ve been training a bit so I feel like I’m in the best form I’ve ever been,” said Lendrum.

In the Maitland Toyota Open, local surfer Paige Haggerston (Coal Point) (10) was knocked out by Kiwi star-on-the-rise Airini Mason (12.25).

Other women to exit the competition include Sydneysider Jessi Miley-Dyer and Californian Bo Stanley.

Surfers to progress to tomorrow’s round of 16 of the Maitland Toyota Open include the winner of last Sunday’s Arnette Pro Junior, Laura Enever (Narrabeen), 2004 world champion and number one seed Sofia Mulanovich (Peru), three-time champion at Newcastle and former Copacabana resident Rebecca Woods (Gold Coast), and the day’s top heat-scorer, Argentinean Ornella Pellizzari (17).

Pellizzari recorded an outstanding 9.75 to top the tally-sheet for the event’s highest individual wave score to date.

For more information, news, media and all your Surfest action please visit www.surfest.com

http://live.coastalwatch.com/livecam_aa.aspx?eid=15628&qryL=english

The Mark Richards Pro is proudly presented by Events NSW, Maitland Toyota, NBN, The Herald, NEW FM 105.3


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