As the 22nd to the 24th of September arrived, the NSW Wavesailing Association’s 2018-2019 Summer Wavesailing Series presented by WindSurfnSnow kicked off at Woolgoolga, after a winter of anticipation. The opening event of the season – the SurfFX Woopi Classic – brought together sailors across the east coast of Australia to put to practice their wavesailing skills in a looming southerly at Flat Top.
The opening day of the season saw competitors greeted by new t-shirts and some old faces. Whilst there was no wind, most took advantage of the fun surfing conditions on offer, enjoying a session on a surfboard or SUP.
After the surf session had come to an end, competitors were presented the new elctronic judging system. Led by head judge Dean Hendrie, competitors took part in a hands-on run-through of the new system that is to be used for the 2018-19 season.
Day 1 was concluded with competitors treated to a steak dinner put on by the association.
The second day of competition arrived with competitors harbouring hopes of some wind to sail in. Unfortunately the wind never quite reached a strength in which competition could be ran, but it was enough for some to get out for a SUP-sail, making the most of what was on offer. Other competitors took to the water on surfboards and SUPs to enjoy the sun and surf.
Again, the association provided a BBQ dinner and drinks for competitors, along with an opportunity to catch up with their fellow windsurfers.
Come Monday the 24th of September, it was all or nothing, with hopes of running the competition pinned to a promising southerly forecast. Head Judge Hendrie called an early briefing, hoping to make the most of the conditions set to be on offer.
Once the wind filled in, the competition started with the masters heats. Michael Preswick, Jeremy Tapp, Warren Holder and Lloyd Ellis took to the water for the first heat of the season. Good waves and critical turns saw Lloyd Ellis win the heat and progress straight to the final, whilst Holder, Tapp and Preswick had to settle for second through fourth and prepare to fight it out in the repechage. In the second heat spectators saw Richard Fink, Richard Ellis, and 2017-18 champion Dean Hendrie take to the water. Unfortunately the second masters heat had to be cancelled and postponed due a lull in the wind.
The first opens heat was set to be sailed, and once the wind picked up 2017-18 amateurs winner Darren Pasco, opens 3rd place-getter Zack Coleman, local James Elks, Queenslander Chris Powell, and junior champion James Fink set out to compete for the opens crown. A pocketful of nice waves saw Powell and Elks progress straight to the final just ahead of Pascoe, followed by Coleman and Fink.
When it came time to rerun heat two of the masters division, Dean Hendrie showed why he was 2017-18 champion with some nice aerials to take out the heat. Richard Ellis took out second, and Richard Fink finished third after a long break from wavesailing competition.
Come the repechage rounds, things started to get serious with competitors now facing potential elimination from the competition. Darren Pasco repeated his form from his first heat to score some nice waves, but this time was rewarded with a first place, securing his final birth. Zack Coleman scraped together enough to take out the last spot in the final, with Jame Fink finishing third. In the masters, Warren Holder and Richard Ellis got the waves they needed to progress, ending Tapp, Fink and Preswick’s event.
After a day of sailing it was time to crown the first opens event winner of the season, and just in time the wind had ramped up to 25 knots for the final. The final turned out to be an incredible close event with just 1.03 points between first and fourth place. Ultimately it was James Elks who exploited his local knowledge of the spot to claim the win, followed by Coleman, Powell and Pasco in second, third and fourth position respectively.
The last heat of the day was to be the masters final. Dean Hendrie held nothing back as he made a number of super-critical wave rides. His rides, executed with perfect timing, were ultimately rewarded for this by the judges, Hendrie taking out the win to give his title defence the perfect start. Some nice waves gave Warren Holder second place, and first out of the grand masters. Lloyd Ellis managed to catch enough good waves to give him third place and bragging rights over his brother Richard.
The next event of the Summer Wavesailing Series presented by WindSurfnSnow is the NSWWA Severne Pro at Gerroa on the 20th and 21st of October. You can register for it now at https://nswwavesailing.org/membership/
SurfFX Woopi Classic Final Results
- James Elks
- Zack Coleman
- Chris Powell
- Dean Hendrie
- Warren Holder
- Lloyd Ellis
- Warren Holder
- Lloyd Ellis
- Richard Ellis
- James Fink