Sport

Triple treat at surfing titles

Newly crowned Australian longboard champion Jackson Close admires the view at Greenmount Beach. Close used his surfing nous to ensure he snared the best waves at North Haven to claim the title.
Newly crowned Australian longboard champion Jackson Close admires the view at Greenmount Beach. Close used his surfing nous to ensure he snared the best waves at North Haven to claim the title. Blainey Woodham

THREE local surfers weaved their special brand of magic on boards at the Australian Surf Festival in Port Macquarie to snare national titles.

Tweed Heads' Beau Nixon and Shakira Westdorp, from Tugun, won the men's and women's stand-up paddleboard crowns at the festival, which is reserved for competitors in longboard, SUP board and short board categories.

Also grabbing top place on the medals dais was the coolest man on the waves, Coolangatta's Jackson Close, who reigned supreme in the longboard competition.

Close defended his Australian longboard title on North Haven beach, handing in superb efforts at his first and last rides in the final to claim the title from two of the best longboarders in the business, Darren O'Rafferty (Bonny Hills) and Sapphire Beach's New South Wales champion Jared Neal.

A determined Close was quick to secure a big score early, nailing an 8.00 with his opening

effort, which featured a big re-entry, and then he made a closing 7.35 ride to snatch victory.

"I'm so happy," Close said at the medals presentation. "I think I put too much pressure on myself this year to try to win it again and I was getting so nervous.

"Last night I was hoping that it wasn't a close-out shore break so it wasn't a lucky dip who got the waves and who didn't.

"I ended up getting my wish, so we were all in the one position and it all came down to picking them (waves), picking the right one that ran all the way.

"I'm just on top of the world. I feel great."

Nixon took his title against the most talented competitors in the country, including three Queenslanders who matched waves with him in the final - Sunshine Coasters Geoff Breen and Keahi De Aboitiz and Close, who was striving for a second national crown.

The three Queenslanders surfed solidly, but in the end a 7.5 after a big floater nudged Nixon to the front when it mattered most.

"I feel amazing. I've trained so hard for this event and I'm so glad I came away with a win. I'm over the moon right now," Nixon said.

Also over the moon was Westdorp.

"I'm stoked. The level of the girls' surfing has improved so much over the last couple of years and it's only going to get harder and harder, so to take it out over the other girls who have been ripping is great," said Westdorp, who defended last year's title.

Topics:  jackson close, port macquarie, shakira westdorp


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