Williams takes longboard title
TWEED'S Chelsea Williams has for the seventh-time won this year's Kingscliff Australian Longboard Surfing Open.
Leads changed seven times and, in a tense finish, Jennifer Smith from California found the number less than fortunate as she needed a 7.21 to take the title.
Smith came desperately close, scoring 7.20 to level the scores with Williams at 13.87, forcing a count-back, but Williams took honours courtesy of her 9.17 single wave score.
Each female finalist held top spot at some stage but eventually Hawaiians Crystal Dzigas, with 12.50, and Candice Appleby, with 9.27, also went the way of Smith.
"I was pretty worried," Williams said, after winning the Surftech sponsored event.
"It took me a while to get my first one as I was always in the wrong spot, and all the girls would get a wave and then I'd just be waiting and nothing would come.
"I definitely needed that first big score; it's so hard out there.
"You can't really see from the beach but it's really washy and the bumps are everywhere.
"I didn't realise it was as close as it was in the end."
Current world champion Taylor Jensen fared better than his fellow Californian, Smith, holding off a late charge by former world champion Harley Ingleby of Emerald Waters to emerge from the water triumphant.
Jensen took the men's final on the back of two early high scores while navigating shifting one-to-two foot swell.
In tricky conditions on the incoming tide Jensen, who achieved an overall 16.26, locked in an early 7.43 and backed it up with the final's highest single wave score of 8.83 with 15 minutes remaining.
He finished ahead of Ingleby who managed 15.04, Nic Jones from Buderim with10.10, and Coolum Beach's Dane Wilson who gained 9.27.
Ingleby scored an 8.27 with 10 minutes remaining, but it wasn't enough with Jensen holding on for the win.
"You had to go for anything that looked like it might wall up," Jensen said.
"And that first one walled up on the inside for me and halfway through the heat I could see that second one would wall up so I was happy to get those two in.
"But I wanted to put a better heat score together to feel a bit safer, as Harley has come back against me before late in the heat and locked in a winning score, so I would have liked a better back-up.
"I was confident nothing was going to come through and offer the mid-eight score he needed on the inside, so I sat out back to make sure if the bomb came through I had it protected."
Finals in all divisions were held today including the Illusions Noosa SUP Pro with Tweed's Beau Nixon dominating with an 18.70 to easily account for fellow Tweed Jackson Close, 13.53, Geoff Breen from the Sunshine Coast,13.24 and Coolum's Dane Wilson, 9.84.
Nixon exploded out of the blocks to quickly put the final beyond doubt, scoring an 8.83 and a 9.87.
The prestigious local event featured both men's and women's Association of Surfing Professionals Longboard Qualifying Series divisions with $20,000 total prize money.
Green Aussie Cleaner Pro Men Final:
Taylor Jensen (USA) 16.26, Harley Ingleby (AUS) 15.04, Nic Jones (AUS) 10.10, Dane Wilson (AUS) 9.27
Cancer Institute NSW Pro Women Final:
Chelsea Williams (AUS) 13.87, Jennifer Smith (USA) 13.87, Crystal Dzigas (HAW) 12.50, Candice Appleby (HAW) 9.27
Illusions Noosa SUP Pro Final:
Beau Nixon (AUS) 18.70, Jackson Close (AUS) 13.53, Geoff Breen (AUS) 13.24, Dane Wilson (AUS) 9.84
The Australian Longboard Surfing Open featured ASP LQS men's and women's divisions, a noserider event, SUP surfing and racing and amateur surfing divisions.
On land there was a music festival, lifestyle market stalls, art, cooking demonstration by Eoin Shoemark, head chef from the award winning Fins Restaurant at Salt, and movies.
It was presented by Surftech and supported by Tweed Shire Council, Destination NSW, Green Aussie Cleaner, Cancer Institute NSW, Australian Longboarding Magazine, Pacific Longboarder, ASP Australasia, Mohawk Wax and My Daily News.