Friendship on hold while the surf is pumping
By TANIA PHILLIPS
TRAINING mates Samba Mann and Shaun Gossmann will put their friendship aside for the next few days as they go head-to-head in two of their most important surfing contest of the year.
The two surfers will compete against each other in the annual Rip Curl Kirra Teams Challenge which starts on Friday and goes through to Sunday afternoon. Kirra is the likely venue for this year's contest.
Gossmann is a member of the defending titleholders the Snapper Rocks Surfriders club while Mann is surfing for near neighbours and main rivals Alley Boardriders.
Last year Snapper, who are aiming for their third title in a row and their eighth in the events 20-year history, won by just 3.5 on a countback from the determined Alley club.
The two mates will just get over Sunday's event before having to go back into competition in the cut-throat Quiksilver Pro trial on Monday where 12 surfers will vie for just one spot in the prestigious event.
But the duo take all this competition in their stride.
"We are training partners at Casurina but that doesn't matter after the hooter goes (to start competition)," Mann said laughing.
They are both looking forward to the team's competition - a rare chance to surf in a team in a sport that is usually very much about individuals.
"It's like having 10 coaches on the beach," Mann said of the contest. He said all of the club-mates watched and encouraged each other.
The contest, billed as the world's largest inter-club surfing teams event, has attracted 34 boardriders clubs from Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Western Australia and carries a prize pool of $15,000.
Organisers hope that the surf will be good enough to allow the competition to return to Kirra this year for the first time in 10 years.
While Snapper and the Alley are both looking strong again this year, Mann and Gossmann believe Gold Coast club North End, Byron Bay, Sydney's Curl Curl and Sunshine Coast side Noosa will all be teams to watch.
The event runs for three days with competition starting at 8am (Qld) tomorrow.