Surf Stars Set Up Sensational Opening Day at the Be the Australian Boardriders Battle Final
Taj Burrow hit the jackpot while ASP World Champions Stephanie Gilmore and Layne Beachley turned back the clock on Day 1 of the two-day Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle National Final at Cronulla.
At the end of the first day, Burrow’s Yallingup Boardriders Club leads the event on 2560 points, ahead of Stephanie Gilmore’s Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club on 2360 points with Merewether Surfboard Club and North Narrabeen Surfriders Club sharing third on 2260.
Sixteen of Australia’s top clubs qualified for this weekend’s event, which is the culmination of the biggest grassroots, boardriders event series in Australian surfing history with more than $100,000 in prizemoney. It involved local clubs in seven State qualifying rounds and culminates in this weekend’s National Final at North Cronulla.
Each team of seven includes two juniors (1 male and 1 female), four Open age surfers (3 male and 1 female) and one over 35 surfer (male or female). An exciting event format will see club teams battle it out in Pairs competition, five-person Teams competition and a Skins competition. The National Final will include a lucrative, club-take-all Skins format across 10 heats with a $1000 jackpot in each heat.
In a lumpy 2-3ft swell, a tireless Burrow collected $4000 for his club Yallingup after winning four successive Skins heats with scores of 9.5, 8.17, 9.17 and 9.63. Burrow was in the water for more than hour not only boosting the coffers for his club but also picked up crucial points towards the final overall tally.
His winning run was ended by 2012 ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson (Snapper Rocks) who won his first Skins with a 9.63.
There was no rest for Burrow as he was back in the water almost immediately scoring a 9.37 to help Yallingup win its opening Teams’ heat.
Snapper Surfriders looked dangerous early in the Pairs heats with Gilmore and Jay Phillips combining for the victory before Parkinson took his opening Skins heat. When surfing resumes on Day 2, Parkinson will have a chance to try and match Burrow’s Skins run.
The Pairs heats were the first time in five years five-time ASP World Champion Gilmore had surfed against seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley, who was surfing for Queenscliff with Jarrad Sullivan. Phillips and Gilmore won the heat 14.33 – 10.04.
“It was great to come down and surf against Layne. It was a great surprise when I heard I was surfing against her,” Gilmore said. “It’s a bit nerve wracking surfing in Pairs. When you’re in a team you’re doing it for your team-mates and if you let them down you feel really bad, but it’s much more enjoyable when you’re all together and cheering each other on.”
Snapper Rocks dominated its Teams heat to remain firmly in contention for the overall title as did North Narrabeen who opened the day strongly when Laura Enever and Chris Davidson combined to knock over Werri Boardriders Club.
Points tally at the end of day 1:
Yallingup Boardriders (WA) 2560
Snapper Rocks Surfriders (QLD) 2360
Merewether Surfboard Club (NSW) 2260
North Narrabeen Boardriders (NSW) 2260
Avoca Boardriders (NSW) 2160
Elouera Boardriders (NSW) 2060
Queenscliff Boardriders (NSW) 2060
13th Beach Boardriders (VIC) 2050
Kirra Surfriders (QLD) 2050
Werri Boardriders (NSW) 1960
Cronulla Sharks Boardriders (NSW) 1950
Seaford Boardriders (SA) 1950
Torquay Boardriders (VIC) 1950
D-Bah Boardriders (QLD) 1950
Margaret River Boardriders (WA) 1950
South Arm Boardriders (TAS) 1750
Conditions are expected to clean up on Sunday after a strong ESE breeze created difficult conditions during Saturday afternoon. The wind will ease on Sunday morning from the S before freshening again during the afternoon.
The event is sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professional (ASP), which allows Australian ASP World Championship Tour surfers the opportunity to represent their local boardriders and compete with their clubmates.
The event is televised live both days on Fuel TV and streamed at www.australianboardridersbattle.com.
aj Burrow was by far the standout surfer on Day 1 of the Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle in Cronulla, winning four individual heats and leading Yallingup to a solid tag-team performance.
Merewether's Ryan Callinan on day 1 of the Be the Influence Australian Boardriders Battle in Cronulla.