August 20 - 26, 2023: Issue 595


Local Surfers Excel At Australian Surf Championships 2023

Jason Livingston won both the over 45 and over 50 Longboard titles. Photos: Kurt Polock/ Surfing Australia

The Australian Surf Championships commenced in Port Macquarie on August 4 with an opening ceremony to mark the start of the event.

Longboard and Logger divisions were the first to hit the water: August 5 – 12, followed by the Australian Para Surfing Titles: August 13, Australian Bodyboard Titles: August 14 – 16 and currently running Australian Shortboard Titles: August 17 – 21.

Local surfers have been strongly represented in the championships, bringing home a cache of wins.

Queensland achieved a clean sweep of the Longboard and Logger divisions on the first day of finals action, August 7, at the Australian Surf Championships. Landen Smales (Noosa Heads, QLD) won the Open Men’s Logger and U18 Junior Men’s Logger divisions, making Australian history on the way.

Surfing Australia Contest Director, Glen Elliott said: “No one has ever made four Australian finals in one event and to win two out of the four and finish runner up in the other two is unprecedented.”

Clinton Guest (Bokarina, QLD) got the highest heat score of the day, 15.07, clinching victory in the Open Men’s Longboard final with a skilful combination of noserides and smooth, flowing turns.

“It just all went my way. The right waves came to me,” Guest said. “I love coming down here and surfing at such a professionally run event and to do it in front of my family and my daughter is very special. To win at Bonny Hills is pretty cool too, my daughter’s name is Bonnie.”

Guest dedicated his win to Alex Malibu club as well as his former coach and mentor, Mark McNamara who died of a heart attack in the surf in 2015.

“Ten years ago we shared a final around the corner at North Haven. Ten years on, to do it is just a tribute to him. I’m pumped he instilled all this knowledge in longboarding for me.”

Guest also wins a place in the Irukandjis Team alongside Kirra Molnar (Noosa Heads, QLD) who claimed two titles.

Molnar said: “It feels amazing to win an Aussie title for Queensland. Last year I got the Open Women Logger Title so managed to defend that this year and also finally got the Open Longboard. I felt confident in my surfing all event and so was happy to get the results.

“It was really nice to have the support of my mum and her partner Ian on the beach as well as the rest of the Noosa Malibu Club members. It means a lot to be part of such a great longboarding community back home and also see the others surfing so well too. Amazing to see Surfing Queensland performing to take out all Logger and Longboard Junior and Open titles this weekend! Cmon Queensland.”

14-year-old Lennix Currie (Tewantin, QLD) was crowned U18 Junior Men’s champion.

“It feels surreal something that I have always wanted to achieve but I am so damn excited. I have been training hard on points and opens back home in Noosa trying to master my performance of my new Thomas board.”

15-year-old Mia White (Noosa Heads, QLD) took out both the U18 Junior Women’s Longboard and U18 Junior Women’s Logger titles.

“The final was intense, the heat was filled with outstanding surfing from start to finish, the conditions were tricky, but nothing I couldn’t handle. It feels like an out of body experience, this is my first win and to win two Australian finals is a dream that came true.”

The championships were held at Bonny Hills Beach, in clean 2-3ft conditions providing surfers with long right-hand walls over the first three days of competition.

Local surfers among the finals places were  a 2nd for Jasmin Howarth (Avalon Beach) in the U18 Junior Women Longboard and a 3rd  in the U18 Junior Women Logger. 

Jimmy James Tualima (Manly) secured 3rd spot in the U18 Junior Men Logger and another win with a 3rd in the U18 Junior Men Longboard.

The Australian Surf Championships Longboard and Logger Titles for the Master Divisions concluded on August 12 in a display of exceptional skill, camaraderie, and triumph. Also taking place at Bonny Hills Beach, the surfers embraced clean conditions, providing the ideal canvas for celebrating the spirit of longboarding.

Surfing Australia Contest Director, Glen Elliott, shared his perspective on the event’s success:

“The waves have been beautiful all day with clean conditions and smallish waves. The longboarders and loggers truly revelled in these conditions. Winners emerged from nearly every state, highlighting the strength of longboard surfing in Australia. From the over 40s all the way to the over 70s age divisions, this aspect of the ASC event embodies the spirit of longboarding. It’s about family, fraternity, and the joy of old friends making new connections.”

Jason Livingston (North Curl Curl, NSW), a dual champion in the men’s over 45 and over 50 categories, expressed his contentment with the event:

“Conditions are great; I just wish we had a bit more swell, but other than that, it’s perfect. Winds are offshore, the sun’s out, and the water is beautiful.” To the question of how many titles Livingstone has won in the past, he replied with: “I’m not quite sure. I think I’m into double figures.”

Andrea Bohm (Freshwater) also excelled and is the 2023 Australian Over 60s Women's Champion. 

Tati Guedes (Queenscliff) was also among the winners' circle, placing 3rd in the Over 40 Women Longboard and 4th in the Over 40 Women Logger, while Richard Smith (Manly) won 3rd in both the Over 55 Men Longboard and Over 60 Men Longboard.

The Australian Para Surfing Titles were held August 13 at Rainbow Beach of Bonny Hills. The event, held under small and clean conditions, showcased the extraordinary talents of para athletes who continue to make a meaningful impact on the sport of surfing.

Local surfers dominated the placings, many of them members of the Mona Vale beach based Northern Beaches Para Surfer Boardriders club.

Emma Dieters - a 2023 Australian Para Surfing Titles winner. Photo: Lighthouse Sports Photography/Surfing Australia

Sam Bloom in action at the 2023 Australian Para Surfing Titles winner. Photo: Lighthouse Sports Photography/Surfing Australia

Dale Taylor (NSW) claimed the victor in the Para Stand 1 category, earning both the title and the prestigious ‘Spirit of Para Surfing’ award. Taylor’s exceptional performance and dedication underscored the resilience and determination within Parasurfing.

Surfing Australia Contest Director, Glen Elliott, expressed his admiration for the athletes:

“At Rainbow Beach Bonny Hills, the Australian Parasurfing Titles showcased exceptional performances. Dale Taylor clinched victory in the Para Stand 1 category and was honoured with ‘The Spirit of Para Surfing’ award. The event, held in small and clean conditions, highlighted the inspiring abilities of all para athletes and their meaningful impact on the sport.”

Veteran surfer Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart (NSW), who secured his fifth Australian title at the event, commented on the tough conditions and the importance of the sport’s visibility: 

“We’re all surfing the same waves, so it is what it is – a bit of everything. The reason I keep coming back is my love for the sport and promoting it, especially among the youth. I genuinely believe it’s the best sport in the world. It’s fantastic that Surfing Australia organizes these events; they deserve credit for it. Unfortunately, accidents happen every day, and new people face difficulties each year. Our continuous involvement aims to keep the sport in the public eye. So if something goes wrong, people can remember us, out there in the surf despite challenges. We hold a responsibility to endorse it, encourage more individuals to return to the ocean, and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Jocelyn Neumueller (SA), an Adelaide native, expressed her pride in witnessing emerging talents like Annie Goldsmith (2nd place): “Annie and I are both from Adelaide, so it’s a special feeling seeing her up here, absolutely killing it. The best part, for me, is spreading the love for surfing and witnessing emerging talents like Annie. They’re the future, and that’s truly fulfilling seeing this sport grow.”

Joel Taylor (NSW), who secured the Australian Title after three decades of dedication, shared his excitement: “Winning this Title has me seriously pumped. I remember my first Australian Title entry back in 1993 when I was just 12 and passionate about bodyboarding. Now, 30 years later, I’m an Australian champion, and it’s an awesome feeling.”

The Australian Para Surfing Titles not only celebrate remarkable athletic prowess but also the indomitable spirit of individuals who overcome challenges to excel in the sport they love. As the event continues to gain traction, it highlights the incredible growth and potential of para surfing on both national and international stages.

Para Surfing Results

1. Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart (Byron Bay, NSW) 
2. Reddog Wheatley (Garden Suburb, NSW)  
3. Michael Foti (Nowra, NSW) 

VI 1 Men
1. Kirk Watson (Mona Vale, NSW) 

VI 2 Men
1. Jack Jackson (Woy Woy, NSW) + Assistant 
2. Matt Formston (Wamberal, NSW) 

VI 2 Women
1. Sarah Jane Gibson (Bensville, NSW) 

S1 – Mixed
1. John Wheele (Tura Beach, NSW) 
2. Leanne Whitehouse (Tweed Heads, NSW) 

S2 – Men
1. Dale Taylor (Pottsville, NSW) 
2. Jake Matthews (Newport Beach, NSW) 
3. John Crampton (Sydney, NSW) 
4. Robert Tome (Warrawong, NSW)

S3 – Men
1. Andrew Pink (Weyba Downs, QLD) 

Prone 1 Men
1. Joel Taylor (Lennox Head, NSW) 
2. Kai Colless (Burleigh Heads, NSW) 
3. Max Devery (Secret Harbour, WA) 
4. Chris Astill (St Leonards, NSW) 

Prone 1 Women
1. Emma Dieters (Mona Vale, NSW) 
2. Sam Bloom (Newport, NSW) 

Prone 2 Men
1. Lee Ferrier (Sydney, NSW) + Assistant 
2. Cliff Gralton (Tuncurry, NSW)

Prone 2 Women
1. Jocelyn Neumueller (Park Holme, SA)
2. Annie Goldsmith (Erindale, SA)

The Australian Bodyboard Titles concluded on August 16 at North Haven in Port Macquarie. Held under pristine 3-4 foot offshore conditions, the ocean provided the perfect canvas for bodyboarders to showcase their prowess, vying for the coveted title of Australian Champion.

In what many consider the best conditions ever seen for this division of the Australian Titles, Glen Elliott, Surfing Australia Contest Director, praised the waves, stating, “Epic conditions for the bodyboarders, with each participant reveling in the high-performance peaks at North Haven. Solid 3-4 foot left and right peaks were the order of the day, complete with tube riding and big flips.”

The Open Men’s and Open Women’s events were both dominated by surfers from Western Australia. The $1000 winner’s prize will undoubtedly assist with their cross-country travel expenses to this prestigious event. 

Ebony Schell (Mindarie, WA) defeated her East Coast adversaries in the Open Women’s, securing back-to-back Australian Titles. She remarked:

“I think just the vibes here are amazing to complete with all my friends from WA and cheer each other along and obviously to back up that win from last year it builds up my confidence, yeah I’ll be back next year to defend my title.”

Participants couldn’t stop talking about the fantastic conditions they encountered throughout the event. Kai De Legh Padbury (Perth, WA), the Open Men’s winner, shared:

“The forecast was looking pretty sad at the start, then I think it was on the second day it picked up and it was 3-4 foot, just pumping offshore glassy peaks, which was great to see.”

At 21, Kai was the youngest finalist, surpassing his rival Jimmy Leayr (Newcastle, NSW) by a mere margin of 0.3 to claim the Australian Title.

In the over-35 Masters, Wade Boeree (Kotara, NSW), originally from Western Australia and now representing the Newcastle Bodyboard Club, triumphed with an impressive heat total of 17.26, which included an individual score of 9.13. For Wade, the contest transcends scores:

“I mostly compete just for the kinship, these guys are my brothers and I enjoy the camaraderie that I’ve formed over the last 30 years of bodyboarding.”

For all the participants in the Bodyboard division, this competition is not just about titles or scores. It’s an amalgamation of camaraderie, the joy of surfing, and the memory of the fantastic waves that allowed them to compete to claim the title of Australian Champion. 

For a full list of results go to the website HERE.

On Monday August 21st, 2023 North Haven Beach in the picturesque Port Macquarie region came alive as the Australian Shortboard Titles concluded. The Australian Surf Championships were blessed with superb waves throughout, and the Shortboard Division was no exception.

Glen Elliott, Surfing Australia Contest Director, praised today’s conditions: “Today was nothing short of spectacular. The surfers were on fire! The Semi-Finals showcased some great barrels, setting the bar high for performance throughout the competition.” Unfortunately, conditions deteriorated for the finals with the wind coming up from the North East, forcing competitors to adapt to the tricky onshore conditions.

The Open Men’s Final saw Jarvis Earle (NSW) dominate from the outset, reinforcing his credentials as the reigning World Surf League World Junior Champion. Ben Lorensten (QLD) clinched second place with a timely score, outshining Semi-Finals sensations Willis Droomer (VIC) and Maddy Job (QLD).

Jarvis said of his win:

“The final was in really tricky conditions, all the boys got a couple of good waves and it came right down to the wire. I was just stoked to get a few good ones and come away with the win.”

In the Open Women’s Final, 18-year-old Rosie Smart (NSW) overcame her seasoned competitors, including 2022 Australian Champion Freya Prumm (NSW). It was Smart’s solid technical backhand surfing that earned her the lead. Kirra-Belle Olsson (NSW), a former Australian Junior Champion, scored the highest wave in the final but fell short overall, leaving Smart as the winner.

Smart was over the moon at the Australian Title:

“It was a super close battle with Kirra-Belle, I let her go a wave when I had priority at the end so that was a bit of a mistake, luckily she fell off. I never thought I’d win an Aussie Title so it feels pretty surreal.”

Queensland managed to secure two national titles at this year’s Shortboard event. Trevor Tripcony (Yaroomba, QLD) claimed the Over 40 Men with a solid 14.37 total, while Lauren Poor (Marcoola, QLD) won for the second year in a row in the Over 35 Women division.

The Masters Finals of the Shortboard Division concluded on August 19th. Rod Baldwin (Copacabana, NSW), after bagging two Australian Titles in 2022, emerged victorious in the Over 55 Men category but was bested by Max Perrot (Lennox Head, NSW) in the Over 60 Men. 

The shortboard division’s conclusion marks the end of a remarkable Australian Surf Championships. Over the past 17 days, this event has served as a platform for Australia’s surfers to unite, compete, and play in the beautiful setting of Port Macquarie.

Final Results for the Shortboard Division:

Open Women
1. Rosie Smart (Sawtell, NSW)
2. Kirra-Belle Olsson (Port Macquarie, NSW)
3. Phillipa Anderson (Newcastle, NSW)
4. Freya Prumm (Merimbula, NSW)

Open Men
1. Jarvis Earle (Cronulla, NSW)
2. Ben Lorentson (Sunshine Beach, QLD)
3. Willis Droomer (Jan Juc, VIC)
4. Maddy Job (Burleigh Heads, QLD)

Over 35 Women
1. Lauren Poor (Marcoola, QLD)
2. Belinda Koorey (Manly Vale, NSW)
3. Belinda Adams (Busselton, WA)
4. Tiffany Riggs (Torquay, VIC)

Over 35 Men
1. Matt Hoar (Dalmeny, NSW)
2. Christo Hall (Narrabeen, NSW)
3. Shane Carroll (Avalon Beach, NSW)
4. Shane Conwell (Whale Beach, NSW)

Over 40 Men
1. Trevor Tripcony (Yaroomba, QLD)
2. Shane Conwell (Whale Beach, NSW)
3. Mitchell Dawkings (Nelson Bay NSW)
4. Jye Gofton (Coolum Beach, QLD)

Over 50 Men
1. Brett Bannister (Narrabeen, NSW)
2. Arthur McKenzie (Cowes, VIC)
3. Graeme Fenton (Mermaid Beach, QLD)
4. Glenn Pringle (Cronulla, NSW)

Over 50 Women
1. Greta Francis (Narrabeen, NSW)
2. Fiona Bamberry (Cromer, NSW)
3. Belinda Koorey (Manly Vale, NSW)
4. Cheryl Peat (Christies Beach, SA)
5. Cheryl Buck (Colonel Light Gardens, SA)

Over 55 Men
1. Rod Baldwin (Copacabana, NSW)
2. David Hammond (Avalon Beach, NSW)
3. Mark Tickle (Newport, NSW)
4. Andrew Johnson (Dalmeny, NSW)

Over 45 Men
1. Paul Parkes (Adamstown, NSW)
2. Troy Dowker (Currumbin, QLD)
3. Mitchell Dawkings (Nelson Bay, NSW)
4. Cameron Sharpe (Shelly Beach, NSW)

Over 60 Men
1. Max Perrot (Lennox Head, NSW)
2. Rod Baldwin (Copacabana, NSW)
3. Patrick Connell (City Beach, WA)
4. Chris Matters (Moore Park Beach, QLD)

Photos by Surfing Australia - Masters Division Finals and presentation:

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.

Report by Surfing Australia

Northern Beaches Para Surfer Boardriders Inc - First Official Competition crew earlier this year at Mona Vale Beach
Left to Right: Lee Ferrier, Lori Foti, Michael Foti, Jack Jackson, Max Devery (from WA!), Sam Bloom, Chris Astill
Back Row: Kirk Watson, John Crampton, Chook Harris
Front Row: Em Dieters 
Notable Absentees: Cam Bloom, Jaz Astill
Photo Byron Chadwick - nomoredahl