Stewart goes back-to-back in California
INSPIRATIONAL Northern Rivers waverider Mark "Mono” Stewart is toasting two consecutive world titles after surfing his way to the top of the podium at the ISA Stance World Adaptive Championships in America.
Surfing at famed California break La Jolla in San Diego on Sunday, Stewart, who grew up in Mullumbimby but learned to ply his trade in Byron Bay, took advantage of 2-3ft waves to claim top spot in the AS2 Stand/Kneel final to secure his second championship.
Stewart was too strong for his competition in the final, scoring a 15.50 to beat Frenchman Eric Dargent (9.04), Brazilian Henrique Saraiva (8.73), and Hawaiian Colin Cook (5.23) in the small but glassy southern Californian conditions.
Stewart, 54, who lost his right leg to cancer when he was just 16 years old, said he was stoked to again fly the flag for a sport which was gaining momentum with an injection of youth.
"Last year was great,” Stewart said.
"But this year even more special, mainly because I have seen so much progression in our sport. The amount of young people coming up and taking on what the older surfers are teaching them and that's what it is all about.
"Getting our youth involved now so when we get in the Paralympics we will be ready to show the world what can be done.”
Fellow Australian Barney Miller narrowly missed out on a maiden title, finishing second with an 11.16 in the AS5 Assist Final, while Matt Formston finished in third in the AS VI Visually Impaired division in his first world championship campaign.
Jade "Red” Wheatley surfed strongly, but narrowly missed finals after finishing third in his ASQ Stand/Kneel division semi-final.
Former Paralympian Dave Monk surfed into round two of the AS3 Upright division.
TEAM AUSTRALIA RESULTS:
Mark 'Mono' Stewart - AS2 Stand/Kneel division World Champion / Gold Medal
Dave Monk - Round 2, AS3 Upright division
Barney Miller - Silver medal, AS5 Assist division
Matt Formston - Bronze medal, AS VI Visually Impaired division
Jade 'Red' Wheatley - Semi-Finals, AS1 Stand/Kneel division