Single fins bring retro vibe to Burleigh Fest
SURF SCENE with Andrew McKinnon
THE 20th annual Burleigh Boardriders Single Fin comp kicks off the new year surfing calendar for 2017 this weekend from Friday, January 6 to Sunday, January 8.
It's sort of like surfing's Back to the Future event, with pre-thruster models a-la the single era that came to an abrupt halt with Simon Anderson's invention of the three-fin surfboard.
It's highly retro and based on fun, with classic single fins appearing out of the woodwork and the famous Burleigh Headland will resemble a showcase of the single fins that survived as they have to be pre-thruster made surfboards.
Last year the Burleigh Club had one of its best club results taking out the state qualifying round and earning a spot in the 2017 National Boardriders battle to be held at Newcastle.
Importantly, it has secured the surfing and speaking services of WSL World Tour competitor and 2012 world champion Joel Parkinson for the Friday fundraiser at Burleigh Brewery that preludes the Saturday and Sunday single fin competition.
The Friday event is just as important as a fundraiser for the club that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and released a book on the history of the club.
Parko will be joined by good mate, 1999 world champion Mark Occhilupo, and Big Wave women's competitor Felicity Palmateer at both the Friday fundraiser and the weekend comp as well as Rod "The Box” Kerr, former world tour '80s competitor who is probably more famous for his TV role in Bondi Rescue. For more info check www.burleighboardriders. com.
Meanwhile, the Gold Coast's Jamie Mitchell continues to break all types of waterman records with his first breakthrough win on the World Surf League Big Wave Tour at Nazare, Portugal, in the first time a Big Wave event had taken place at the spot.
The wave that breaks at 100ft turned it on the day, with the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii somewhat dwarfed by the enormity of Nazare, captivating a worldwide audience.
Mitchell , a former 10-times in a row Molokai to Oahu paddling champion, has been knocking on the Big Wave Tour for the last few years. Prior to that he commandeered SUP and Hydra-foil surfing but of late has thrown his efforts into conquering mountainous waves of consequence all over the world.
So it was only a matter of time before he cracked the big time, heavy emphasis on the word "big!”.
Instead of the jet ski assist, these Big Wave events are paddle-in on traditional big wave guns. Mitchell is one of those fearless chargers who is undeterred and possesses the psyche to take on the unfathomable.
"I have never made a final before today so to win is unreal, I knew I was close to doing well in a whole event,” Mitchell said.
"To put together a whole contest from start to finish is actually more exciting than just the win today. I felt comfortable out there, my board felt amazing and that gave me a bunch of confidence.”
The waves were estimated in the 35 to 45ft range and Mitchell now has a chance to win a world title. He is currently rated in fifth position. The next event is the Todos Santos Challenge in Mexico; arguably the biggest beach break in the world that can handle waves in the 50ft range.