Australia’s Dave Winchester (Mullumbimby/North Coast NSW) won the Shark Island Challenge in near perfect powerful 2m surf at the notorious Shark Island reef off the point of Cronulla
This prestigious specialty event sanctioned by the International Bodyboard Association (IBA) only runs when Shark Island produces great waves and today’s international field enjoyed idyllic conditions as the 2m swell barrelled across the shallow outer reef.
Winchester started the final slowly and was virtually scoreless ten minutes into the 40 minute final allowing local Cronulla rider Andrew Lester to build up a solid lead but his patience paid off when he found the biggest and best wave of the final, negotiated a long barrelling section by foamballing his way through the tube scoring a strong 7.8.
Shortly after Winchester found another excellent barrel ride and opened up a huge lead when he scored an excellent 8.03 and his fellow competitors were unable challenge him with Winchester winning the final on a scoreline across his top two rides of 15.83 to Lester on 13.5 with Hawaii’s Mike Stewart in 3rdplace and Nth Sydney rider Ben Player in 4th.
“It’s the biggest win of my career for sure” said an elated Winchester after the final.
“This event has a lot of history and to be added to the winners list is special.”
“The waves were exceptional, perfect barrels and the final had a lot to do with picking off the best waves and scoring the deepest barrel rides – I waited for those waves and it was a winning strategy for sure.”
For popular local rider Andrew Lester it was his second 2nd placed finish in this event as a win continues to elude him.
Hawaiian Mike Stewart never found the right waves in the final but the nine time Bodyboard World Champion enjoyed his day none-the-less.
“It’s a great Bodyboard wave out here – seriously intense and ideal for the best riders to compete in” said Stewart.
“I didn’t have a great final but I scored plenty of great waves through the quarters and semi’s and it’s been a really good day.”
Stewart was awarded the best barrel ride of the day for a 9 point ride he scored on his final ride in the semi finals which saw him jump from 4th place to 2nd and got him into the final.
Nth Sydney rider Ben Player (Avalon) also had a disappointing final placing 4th after dominating his quarter and semi finals and was awarded the best aerial move of the event which he pulled in his semi final win.
Final Placings –
1st Dave Winchester (AUS/Mullumbimby)
2nd Andrew Lester (AUS/Cronulla)
3rd Mike Stewart (Hawaii)
4th Ben Player (AUS/Avalon)