Snapper Rocks Boardriders ruling the waves down south
THE Snapper Rocks Surfriders club have taken out their biggest pay day to date with a resounding victory in the Surfing Australia Be the Influence boardriders battle at Cronulla.
A total of 16 boardriding clubs around Australia qualified for the national event which included a handful of ASP world tour surfers such as Joel Parkinson, Steph Gilmore, Taj Burrow and 2014 debutantes Mitch Crews and Dion Atkinson.
This teams event was more about the spirit of the boardriding clubs that is so essential to the nature of surfing in Australia and how world champions are groomed and moulded from an early grommet age.
Snapper club president and team player Jay Phillips collected the $20,000 winning first prize cheque for the inaugural national title on Australia Day.
"This is the proudest moment in the history of the club," he said.
He handed the microphone to the number one gun from Snapper, 2012 world champion Joel Parkinson who praised the team and all the supporters.
Indeed a very proud moment for one of the greatest boardriding clubs in Australian surfing history, celebrating its 50th anniversary on August 30.
And while Snapper won the main prize, it was the local underdog team Elouera Boardriders who almost stole the show from Snapper when the youngest team riders used all their local knowledge to win the team final and placed runner-up in the overall position to Snapper.
Their main weapon was a stringy goofy footer by the name of Connor O'Leary who surfed like a man possessed, never buckling under pressure.
"We came into the event with nothing to lose. It was good to show everyone what we have and we stepped up to the Big Dogs," said Connor, who relished the opportunity to surf with the world pros, saying, "It was so good to be competing against such good surfers like Joel and Steph who have been my heroes all my life and to surf with them is all time!"
Connor O'Leary was judged the best male surfer and given the Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew medal by the 1978 world champion himself.
Stephanie Gilmore was judged best female of the event and awarded the Layne Beachley medal by the 11 times world women's champion.
"This is a great award to be received by Layne and it was good to surf against Layne again."