Classic StuffEvent Report: Currumbin Classic '09
What more can you say than thank you Cyclone Jasper!!!
The weekend of the 28th and 29th of April saw 6ft swell and 20 knots of wind from the south east finding its way onto the Gold Coast's beaches. Saturdays early morning surf reports told the story, "6ft beachies, clean on the points but get in early before the strong wind gets on it, experienced surfers only" It was pumping and all in time for the inaugural Neil Pryde Currumbin Classic to kick off.
With a rising swell and strengthening wind in the days preceding the Currumbin Classic the stage was set for the some of the finest wavesailing conditions an event in QLD has ever seen. Despite a few spots of rain as yours truly headed down the highway to the Alley as I pulled into the car park it was clear to see this weekend would be one of great action and a great deal of carnage.
My first glimpse at a set breaking off the point saw some of the local StandUp Paddle crew dropping into some clean double head high bombs, and many giving the waves larger than that a wide berth. As the morning wore on the wavesailors started to arrive along with the hint of southerly wind, and before we knew it we had 24 eager sailors from north, south and even as far a field as Ireland, all signed up and ready to get amongst it all.
By late morning the ladies from Red Bull had been by to fuel everyone up and the most eager were hitting the water, with one or two opting to take a chance on the open beach and sail around the point. While the wind was cleaner on the open beach, the huge close-out sets and very fast sweep sent most of the fleet to bog out through the flukey conditions in the mouth of the estuary.
This option would certainly test the stamina of nearly all the competitors as many enjoyed a long swim in the warm QLD water and fairly decent walk back to try it all again.
Before long it was clear who the standouts were going to be, with open competitors Dan Berry, Shane Finigan and Gary Kepper absolutely revelling in the consistent three quarter mast high waves, with the odd mast high bomb thrown in for good measure. One of the first on the water Oli Barta was setting the early standard in the masters and Tatsuhiro Ishii was giving it a good crack in the amateur division with George Allen not too far behind.
If one thing was to be sure of the day, everyone was going to get their fair share of exercise into the bargain. All day a steady stream of sails could be seen doing "the walk" up the beach from Palm Beach to Currumbin to get back into the line up. And as the day wore on there was no end of stories about the unforgiving wind shadow and waves getting the best of even the most experienced competitors.
The wrap up for the first day of the event saw a few masts broken, a few sails shredded and one complete rig gone to find Davey Joneses Locker and still plenty of smiles. Alas with such an epic day it was only Logan and Ben from down NSW way that would brave a big night in sin city, with the rest of the fleet opting for some much needed rest in anticipation of another epic day.
Sunday dawned and the fleet were greeted with a building swell and slightly stronger wind than the previous day. It was soon a race to get on the water with Hudson Godfrey-Smith out there early and Oli "the energiser bunny" Barta not far behind, Oli would yet again prove his stamina in being one of the last guys off the water at days end.
While day two delivered slightly larger swell than Saturday it would seem it was not quite as clean, all of which didn't deter some of the guys too much with one of the highlights being Gary K perilously dropping into a number of waves deep on the inside, right in front of the rocks where one slip up would certainly equal a lot of trashed gear and body parts.
It was also great to see a couple of the locals in Pat O'Connell and Pete Myers out on the water, with Pete giving Oli a real nudge in the Masters division. And on a day that delivered little in the way of aerial action Martin Batstone still managed to pull some clean forwards through out the day, and a special mention should go to Chris Powell, who managed to break not only a heap of his own gear, but some he borrowed from Will as well, I guess that's what mates are for.
All in all this turned out to be great event, made possible by the generous support of Neil Pryde, Goodtime Surf and Sail, Ask Huey and Surf FX and the sailors that turned up to make the most of the epic conditions. We now look forward to running again next year.