The Hot Tuna Summer Classic took place on the Mornington Peninsula Victoria, Australia this weekend with epic surf conditions that caused six boards to snap in the first morning of competition!
The Australian Longboard Circuit event enjoyed sets in the 2m-plus range along with perfect offshore conditions.
Grant Thomas reveled in the powerful waves and won his quarter final posting an outstanding high scoring ride of (9 out of a possible 10) along with a strong 7.5 second scoring ride to easily win through to the semi’s. “It’s amazing to surf in good waves for an event like this which is the biggest domestic professional longboard event or the season. It looks like tomorrows semi’s and final will go down in great waves again with offshore winds and solid swell and we’re looking forward to an amazing finish here – The bigger the better for me for sure, I loved it out there.”
Thomas’s 9 point ride included an excellent bottom turn into a floating re entry and he finished the wave with a clean barrel ride on the inside section. Other standouts on Friday included Coff’s Harbor surfer Harley Ingelby who easily won his quarter final with the events highest scoring wave of a 9.5 out of a possible 10. His combined two wave heat tally of 17.5 out of 20 was also highest for the event. Current ASP World Champion Josh Constable (Noosa) also won his quarter final defeating Victoria’s sole remaining competitor Eli Curry (Phillip Island) .
The Open Women’s semi finals were completed with Tweed Heads pair Chelsea Williams and Lisa Nicholson through to the final along with Queensland’s Sharon Jackson and NSW’s Nava Young (Nat Young’s daughter). Torquay surfer Emma Wilson was the best of the Victorian’s in the Women’s division, eliminated in the semi finals and finishing 5th place overall.
But it was Ingelby and Williams who took place at the head of the podiums yesterday, with Coff’s Harbor surfer Harley Ingelby clinching the men’s final and Chelsea Williams taking home the trophy in the women’s final.
Excellent waves prevailed with northerly offshore winds under dark skies as Victoria enjoyed some much needed rain and Australia’s best longboarders excelled in the conditions with outstanding 9-point-plus rides common throughout the semi finals and finals. Ingelby’s opening two rides in the 30 minute final were an 8.5 and an 8.55 out of a possible 10 within the first five minutes that placed him front for the entire final.
Queensland surfers Grant Thomas and Josh Constable (both Sunshine Coast) seriously challenged Ingelby with Thomas scoring 8.5 ride and Constable an 8. Ingelby however surfed a super-smart final as he patiently waited for an excellent wave that would allow him to improve on his previous two excellent rides.
He passed on plenty of good looking waves and with five minutes remaining decided to take one of the larger set waves of the day – a series of trademark outstanding drop knee cutbacks, hang tens and clean bottom turns saw him rewarded with the days top scoring ride of 9.5.
Ingelby’s final heat score was an impressive 18.05 with Grant Thomas (Maroochydore) coming in second on 15.65, Josh Constable (Noosa) third on 15.50 and Jared Neal (Coff’s Harbor) fourth on 13.30.
“This is a fantastic event or me to win, it’s the biggest event in Australia and just like last year here we’ve scored amazing surf,” he said. “It’s a great start to the season and I’m super keen to take a hat trick and win the Australian Longboard Circuit for the third year running. The world professional titles in Costa Rica later this year is my ultimate goal along with as many wins as possible.”
Ingelby also praised the event organizers for running such a quality event: “They picked the absolute best of the surf for us over the four day waiting period and made sure of an outstanding event,” he said. “It’s setting new standards for professional Longboarding which is really good to see.”
Second placed surfer today Grant Thomas wasn’t so enthused about the move from the Gunnamatta Beachbreaks which he dominated on Friday to the slightly smaller defined reefs of Flinders on Saturday. He said: “I wanted to stay with the bigger waves today on the beaches but that’s just my opinion, the majority ruled on where we surfed today and it’s hard to complain when the waves were really good but I think my best chance of winning and defeating Ingelby would have been in the bigger surf – It’s still a great start to the season for me and full credit to Ingelby, he surfed a great final and deserved the win.”
Tweed Heads surfer Chelsea Williams dominated her final and left her three opponents chasing a combination of scores to catch her. An excellent 8.25 ride early where she performed a series of excellent nose rides and floating re entries put her well ahead and then on her final ride she bettered that ride with an outstanding 9 point ride. She defeated Queensland surfer Sharon Jackson with Lisa Nicholson in third and Nava Young fourth.
Next event on the Australian Longboard Circuit will be the Noosa Festival of Surfing in early March. The Hot Tuna Summer Classic is Australia’s first ASP World Longboard Tour event and the biggest event of the 2007 season.