Russ took it the first year, Hedgey the second and for the third edition of the O'Neill Highland Open by Swatch, it was again an all Australian affair in the final at Thurso East. Roberston bested his fellow countryman Melling to raise the much coveted Chieftain sword of the Highlander. Bagpipes and beers a plenty for a well deserved return to the world class line-up of Thurso East. No barrels though but just fun walls to play with. Hugo Savalli nearly got himself in the final but the last second a ghost set killed his and Euroforce's hopes. The Reunion Island O'neill rider was obviously disappointed but having impressed his sponsor could see himself becoming a full-time QS warrior for now on, "It is hard to take, I need to let that sink in to be able to enjoy the best result of my career," he said after surfing five heats today in the 7°c water.
Our good friend Sunny Garcia got eliminated in the quarters, "I wanted to win that event for my sister who died recently" he said, striking the emotional chord in me and then he went back to a more usual speech, "I lost in those small waves but I'd like to see what those young guys could do in 10ft Sunset, no airs or sissi lipslides there..." The man from the other North Shore is well and truely in the hunt for requalification.
And to conclude this 3rd edition of the Highland Open, I would like to thank O'Neill for having the guts to organise such a great and hardcore event... Definitely the most refreshing event I've been to for a long time. Soulfull, dedicated, raw! No VIP bullshit, no colour bracelets, no fashion shows at the beach, muddy shoes, cows and bagpipes all in the mix and sick waves.
Special shout out to Andy Baine, Chris Noble (thanks for the booties) Al Mc Kinnon & the Oneill media Crew...