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31st Sunshine Surfmasters

2007 Sunshine Surfmasters

The 31st Sunshine Surf Masters, with Quicksilver as the lead sponsor, was held on Friday and Saturday 24th and 25th August at Flat Rocks and organizers are claiming it the best ever, not only because of the addition of the Tooheys Extra Dry World Qualifying Series event but also because of the great waves, exceptional surfing and quality event management on show.

The decision was made later in the week to compress the event into two days, as the forecast for Sunday was not favorable. The decision paid off, with great waves on both Friday and Saturday; a critical ingredient for a successful surfing competition.

Things kicked off on the Friday morning with heats and man-on-man quarter finals of the WQS. Flat Rocks turned on its best waves for these heats and with some of the best surfers in Australia on hand to compete for $10 000 prize money, the crowd was treated to the hottest surfing display ever witnessed at Flat Rocks.

The judges were kept busy with consistent high scoring rides in every heat. Ry Craike, Courtney and Kirby Brown from Kalbarri, and Kayshun Rodd from Geraldton all made it through to the Quarter finals. In the Semi finals on Saturday morning Courtney Brown surfed one of the best heats possible to knock out the highly fancied Ry Craike, and Ben Godwin from the north coast of NSW out surfed Brett Hardy, a Margaret River local who has previously won a National title. In both heats, the victors established a commanding position early with high scoring rides, Godwin slipping into the Barrel of the event. Both Brown and Godwin were the stand-out surfers in the Tooheys WQS and it was fitting that they met each other in the Final. In the Final, Godwin prevailed with his combination of style and critical maneuvers. While both surfers had high scoring rides, Godwin’s second wave scored an 8.5 out of a possible 10 and secured the title for him. In the end, Brown ran out of time in his search for a similar score.

Tooheys Extra Dry also sponsored an Expression Session, where competitors eliminated from the WQS event had the chance to win $500 for the most radical maneuver and $500 for the best wave. The surfing during the Expression Session was unbelievable. Jay Davies performed several forehand and backhand aerial maneuvers during the 20 minute heat and was a clear winner of the most radical maneuver prize. Joe Hadden, also from NSW, was awarded best wave for a wave on which he was able to complete not one but two radical “fins out the back” tail sliding turns.

In the Geraldton Beach Hotel Open Mens Division, Justin Hagan took out the title for the second year running. Halfway through the Final it was looking like Ryan Wright might take out the Open Final this year, with two high scoring rides under his belt. But Hagan saved his best for last. In the dying minutes, he caught a good wave that allowed him to execute trademark extreme maneuvers. That ride scored an 8.0 to back up his 7.75 from earlier in the final and gave him the title.

In the North Coast Contractors Senior Mens Division, Ben McGay held out Hagan to win the title for the second year running. McGay’s first wave scored an 8.5 and he backed that up with a 7.5 on his second wave. That was enough to give him the title.

Leah Wright won the Latitude Pearls Womens Final for the second year running, although this year Jazmine Fawcett gave her a real challenge.

In the Geraldton Beach Hotel Masters Division, WA State Champion Mark Clift posted two scores over 7 in the Final to hold out local favorites, Leon Norris and Ross Fleming.

Norris also missed out in the S Bends Caravan Park Grand Masters Division, being held out by defending champion, Ian Darby.

In the Apprentice and Traineeship Company Junior Division, Shaun Howe showed his class against quality opposition, including last years champion Tom Clarke (who placed 3rd in this year’s Open Division), getting a couple of the highest scoring rides of the finals.

In the Corner Surf Shop Cadet Division, Cottesloe’s Mitch Nesbitt dominated a division and final full of promising WA juniors.

Ben McDonald won the Bahgwan Marine Non-Competitors Division.

The GBR would like to thank Surfing WA , all of the sponsors, competitors and the City of Geraldton Greenough for making this year’s Sunshine Surf Masters such a successful event. Surfing Western Australia and Surfing Australia have already indicated that they would like the event to increase to a two star rating for 2008.

In other local surfing news, Leah Wright, Craig Tuesley and Leon Norris will be part of the WA State team traveling this week to the north coast of NSW to represent WA at the National Surfing Titles.

Sunshine Surfmasters presented by Tooheys Extra Dry – Ben Godwin Takes Career First WQS Win In Western Australia
Sunday, 26 August 2007

The final day of the Sunshine Surfmasters started with wobbly 1.5m – 2m waves on offer thanks to a building swell hitting the Mid North-West coast. The waves improved throughout the day with a dropping tide & culminated with a great final featuring local favourite Courtney Brown (Kalbarri, WA) & underdog Ben Godwin (Foster, NSW).

By 8am the sun had appeared & warmed up the waves for the first WQS semi final. This heat an absolute delight for all spectators with the two form surfers of the event going head to head. It was an all Kalbarri showdown between close friends Ry Craike & Courtney Brown that produced fantastic surfing from the opening minutes. Craike was left chasing is tail as Brown hooked into three great waves in the first five minutes of the heat. Brown’s 7.50 and 7.15 opening rides left Craike needing 8.15 to hit the lead. Craike waited patiently for a set wave & secured a 7.25 with 8 minutes remaining, but ran out of time before he could find a 7.41 require for the win. Courtney Brown had taken out his more fancied opponent & was humble in his win. “Craike & I are great mates & I knew that I’d d to do something special to beat him out there” said Brown.

The second semi final saw Ben Godwin slip into the barrel of the event & was rewarded with an opening 8.25 ride, placing him in the box seat at the 5 minute mark. Former Australian champ Brett Hardy (Margaret River, WA) needed a combination of 17.61 to snatch the lead and play a part in the final. However, good competition tactics saw Ben Godwin streak ahead & straight into the final.

One of the highlights of the day was the Tooheys Extra Dry Expression Session which was an invitational event that showcased some futuristic & innovative surfing to say the least. Joe Haddon (Foster, NSW) opened out with a huge backside air & linked together some great turns to take out the $500 best wave. While Yalligup’s Jay Davies walked away with $500 for the best manoeuvre with one of his trademark punts.

The 1* WQS final saw Courtney Brown, who had been on fire in each of his heats, taking on Ben Godwin who consistency had caught every bodies eye. With the low tide it was the inside waves that were wrapping around the reef at Flat Rocks offering some really critical sections for both finalists. It was a classic Goofy vs. Natural match up & Godwin surfing on his forehand that used a repertoire of sweeping roundhouse cutbacks & flashy snaps that saw him lock in a 6.50 & 8.40 for his opening two rides. This left Brown requiring something in the excellent range to take the lead. Godwin’s total of 15.15 points left Brown chasing a 8.16 to take the lead & unfortunately couldn’t find the waves that he needed. Godwin’s devastating start left him in the box seat for the duration of the final.

“Im sooo stoked with the win, I came over here to surf Kalbarri & get some training in before the Nationals back at home, but to walk away with the win makes the trip that much sweeter” said an ecstatic Godwin who walked away with $2500.00 USD for his efforts. The inaugural Sunshine Surfmasters was a great success & is anticipated to return again in 2008

Sunshine Surfmasters WQS gets underway in great conditions –
Friday August 24th 2007 – Flat Rocks Geraldton WA

Perfect conditions greeted competitors early at day one of the Western Australian Second World Qualifying Series (WQS) event for 2007, the one star Sunshine Surfmasters presented by Tooheys Extra Dry held at Flat Rocks in Geraldton. Clean 1.5m – 1.8m provided some of the state’s best surfers with idyllic rights & lefts to display their skills in the building swell hitting the mid North West coast of WA. Light NE winds & sunny skies made for a dream start to this newly introduced event on the WQS tour. Local Kalbarri rippers, the Brown brothers Kerby and Courtney, as well event favorite Ry Craike were part of the local contingent that set about devastating their opponents in the opening round.

Always one to impress, Craike set about stamping his authority on the event with his characteristic forehand wafts & futuristic repertoire of maneuvers. Courtney Brown was also on the front foot early scoring the highest wave score of the day making a massive 9.0 ride during his round 1 heat. Both Brown & Craike have won events at Flat Rocks in the past & looked suited to the waves early.

One of the heats of the day was round one heat six featuring top Pro Junior campaigner Jay Davies (Yallingup), taking on former Australian Champion Brett Hardy (Margaret River) & one of the states most consistent competitors John Davies (Margaret River). This heat was on from the opening minutes with each surfer locking in good scoring waves & to progress that they would have to capitalize on all opportunities. It was the never say die attitude of Brett Hardy that saw him score an 8.50 ride in the dying minutes of the heat to clinch the win over John Davies in second & Jay Davies in third, causing perhaps the upset of the day. Flatties fooled a lot of the surfers with some great double up waves & hollow section going unridden.

The morning provided some great surfing, but it was a couple of New South Welshmen in Ben Goodwin & Joe Haddon who had made the long trip West & weren’t taking a backwards step. It was the first time that Haddon & Goodwin had surfed Flat Rocks but both looked at home in the waves & found the going easy, winning their round one heats in convincing fashion. It was remarkable how quickly the pair adapted to the conditions & location, showing the WA boys how its done, with Haddon locking in a combined heat score of 15.75pts. “There’s some surf out there, bit fickle but if you can catch the right ones your set.” Said Haddon who’s spent the last week in Kalbarri surfing the famous Jacques Point will travel buddy Goodwin.

The event made it through round one, round two, & will proceed tomorrow morning with man on man quarter finals. With an expected jump in the swell overnight, the decision was made to hold off & see what Saturday will bring. The Sunshine Surfmasters WQS is running in conjunction with the 31st annual Sunshine Surfmasters, the states longest running surf event & provided a great way to finish off the day with some highly competitive divisions running throughout the day.

Day two will the see the $10,000 USD prize pool delivered including the $2,500 USD for the competition winner, not to mention valuable ratings points. The event will start again at 7am sharp.

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