SURF SCENE with Andrew McKinnon
ONE OF the most parochial and proudest clubs on the Gold Coast, the Burleigh Boardriders are brimming with confidence and bracing themselves for a very big year in 2018.
To begin proceedings, Burleigh are hosting their 21st annual Single Fin competition this weekend. It is now so popular that contest entries were filled early and the Friday fundraiser at their new Club Burleigh (formerly Swell Tavern), was sold out weeks before the closing date.
Competing on pre-1985 surfboards that are single-finned only, this nostalgic comp brings back the wonderful period of the seventies and eighties and the iconic Stubbies Surf Classic held at Burleigh Point. As in previous years, big crowds are expected to gather on the point, positing under the pine-studded trees for the best viewing spot. The festival atmosphere with rows of colourful tents will blend into the Burleigh Headland, a perfect natural auditorium with live music from the Hanlon brothers.
Former world champion Joel Parkinson will be back to defend his title, but the Snapper Rocks pro can expect a brigade of local talent to push him all the way in anticipation of a local Burleigh Boardrider win.
Other former World Tour pros competing include WA's Taj Burrow, Newcastle's Matt Hoy and Simon Law, Bondi Rescue's Rod Kerr, Gold Coast world masters champion Cheyne Horan, and local favourite, former World Tour competitor and single-fin winner Jay "Bottle” Thompson. Previous local winners to watch include Thomas Woods and Tim Hyland. A juniors and women's event will also be included.
The Burleigh Boardriders have grown in strength and stature over the past couple of years, taking out the 2016 and 2017 Queensland state qualifiers over their more fancied rivals, the Snapper Rocks Surfriders. The team for this year's national clubs competition will mount a serious challenge against the best clubs in Australia as they vie for the number-one ranking. Burleigh's stocks include Jay Bottle Thompson, Thomas Woods, Nick Callister , Liam O'Brien, Maddy Job, Indonesia's Hinata Azaiwa, James Woods, Felicity Palmateer and Lucy Callister making them a tour de force. Burleigh Boardriders president James Lewis credits the late Michael Murphy, an original Burleigh Boardriders president, and Eddie Lindores as the father figures for directing the club's success and establishing the single-fin event.
"They worked together to begin our junior development program, which for the first time opened up the club to any under-18 and women members whilst at the same time retaining the two-vote system for open members, which as any surfer knows, has kept Burleigh one of the only places on the coast under local rule,” he said.
The Burleigh Team is jointly coached by Kyle Robinson and Jay Thompson. Burleigh goes into the Newcastle Nationals in February as not only back-to-back Queensland state champions but as 2017 Surfing Australia-voted club of the year. Could 2018 be the year that Burleigh hits the national jackpot?