Mitch Rawlins stepped away from competition shortly after his first professional win seven years ago in Maui, to focus on free surfing and making his own movies. The venues did not favour performance riding, even though his peers voted him the most talented rider around. Last year, the world tour introduced venues favoring high performance bodyboarding, and he re-qualified onto the tour. Today, he won the 2012 IBA Box Pro, defeating South African, Mark McCarthy, in bowling six-foot waves. “This win means a lot more. The one in Maui seemed to come pretty easy and I was a lot younger, and I took it for granted. There are so many good guys now, you can’t make too many mistakes, if any”, said Mitch Rawlins.
Mark McCarthy from South Africa posted the highest heat score of the event and looked unstoppable on his way to the final. However, the waves he caught on his way to the final never came his way, and as the clock counted down to zero, he needed one more wave. “You never want to finish second but I’ll take a second, for now, and start working and training toward the next one. I think this meant quite a bit for Mitch and it’s great that he can also battle it out with guys on tour”, said Mark McCarthy.
All day heats had riders hitting massive sections and pulling into big barrels, much to the appreciation of the spectators. Jones Russell, from Australia, won the Freedom Fins go big award in round four, for landing the biggest move of the round- an invert into the flats- and walked away with a heavier wallet. In the semifinals though, trialist, Jacob Romero from Hawaii, went for the biggest move of the event. He bottom turned into a huge bowl, went straight for the lip, and launched an arcing tweaked invert into flats, committed on landing. His legs went over his head like a scorpion’s tail as he hit the water and was unable to hang on, remarkable he came up unscathed. Romero thanked his friends and family who were supporting him back in Maui.
Mitch Rawlins and Mark McCarthy are both in equal third, after two events on the IBA Grand Slam Series tour rankings. “You don’t think a win can be that rewarding but it is sometimes. I just want to be in the running for the end of the year and this kind of sets up for a good campaign”, said Mitch Rawlins.