Surfscene: Snapper's era of dominance continues
SNAPPER Rocks Surfriders Club has reigned supreme again by taking out the 2017 Straddie Teams Assault in horrendous conditions at Point Lookout Main Beach, North Stradbroke Island.
It's not a Straddie Assault without the proverbial southerly buster and on cue after a week of northerlies, a 40-knot east wind hit the open beach with a vengeance.
Despite the extremely difficult windblown conditions, the Snapper Team racked up eight from eight heat wins to set a Straddie Team record.
No team, including Snapper, had put on such a dominating display on the opening day which has traditionally been held on Saturday. In previous years, this would have given Snapper the 2017 title, going in as defending champions.
However, this year's Straddie Teams Assault was not solely based on just Saturday's Team events as in the past. Host club Point Lookout Boardriders combined Sunday's Tag Teams' event as part of the overall result.
Despite missing their a-grade stars in Bede Durbidge and Ethan Ewing, who were in Portugal for the WSL World Tour event, Point Lookout took out the Sunday Tag Teams. Snapper were trailing in third needing to capture second to clinch the overall title with LeBa (Lennox Ballina) eyeing off second place, but their last surfer failed to get the score required.
That allowed Snapper to finish runner-up in the Tag Teams and, with Saturday's Team result, they secured a momentous victory.
Snapper Surfriders Club president Jay Phillips and former world champion Wayne Bartholomew jointly coached the team.
"Jay once again led by example with the highest score. As a former professional surfer, he has matured as the ultimate club man,” Bartholomew said.
Bartholomew was deeply satisfied and commended Snapper for their winning efforts.
"This is the 23rd win at Straddie since the event started in 1984. Our club has had a fantastic year, winning the Kirra Teams for the third year in-a-row and was runner-up in the Nationals to Avoca, which we had won the year before,” he said.
Bartholomew said the secret of Snapper's success was the focus on its junior development.
"It's a bunch of home-grown kids with upcoming juniors and groms,” he said.
Bartholomew called it their best win ever and says Joel Parkinson has promised that once he retires from the World Tour, he can't wait to be competing in club events with Snapper.
No doubt Point Lookout will be keen to see Bede Durbidge and Ethan Ewing back in their ranks for 2018, especially with Surfing Australia's National Teams event. And the good news for the Burleigh Boardriders, who won the regionals qualifier for next year's National Teams, is that they will be allowed back to compete at next year's Straddie Assault.
I asked Phillips how this Straddie Teams win compared with the others?
"This win was way up there with the unstoppable team back when we won 13 years in a row and now eight from eight heat wins is quite remarkable,” he said.
Snapper Dextar Muskens claimed the highest score in the under-18s with an 8.5, while Marlon Harrison also recorded an 8.5 in the under-16s.
Cabarita's Zahli Kelly was the highest scoring female.
Final results: 1. Snapper, 2. Point Lookout, 3 D'bah, 4. LeBa, 5. Noosa, 6. Windansea, 7. Cabarita, equal 8th. Byron/Alley. 10 Kingscliff.