Locals? classic surfing display on the Mals
By PHIL ROXBURGH
A LARGE crowd at Wategos Beach enjoyed excellent weather and truly world class surfing for the final day of the 25th Byron Bay Malibu Classic on Saturday.
Small but well-shaped waves swept across the bay throughout the morning, providing finalists with good opportunities.
Byron Bay surfers were in top form and took out most divisions, including the premier open men and open women.
In the open men's, Michael Black took on all-comers, including a number of Australia's top pro longboarders.
He used his local knowledge and fine surfing skills to take a comfortable lead from the start with the longest and biggest waves.
Woolgoolga duo Harley Ingleby and Michael Bellamy worked hard to catch up, before Black nailed the judges' decision with the move of the final, a cutback into the tube, blasting out through the white water and back around on to the wall.
In the open women's final, Angela King sealed her second win with a number of clean long-running waves and crisp, precise surfing over an experienced field including Coolangatta's Selby Riddle and Crescent Head's Jodie Barsby.
Former world champion, Hawaii's Bonga Perkins, turned up for a guest appearance and taught everyone just how it is done, scoring an amazing 19.5 out of 20 after racking up a perfect 10 points for a 50-metre plus ride.
He was almost continually moving from a hang five to a hang 10, with total control.
Although flawless in small surf, Perkins is most likely to be found charging the massive walls of places like Backdoor Pipe when he's at home.
Other finals day highlights included the return of 10-times Australian women's champion Sandy Calton of Tweed Heads, who took out the Over-30 women's event from another former national champion, Sally Paxton, also of Tweed Heads.
Another fine surfer seldom seen in competition these days, Byron Bay's Gareth Donovan, showed he had lost nothing since his days as national champion with a near perfect display of classic log riding in the Old Mal division.
The Black family scored the double when the open winner's father, John Black, took out the Hogs Breath Big Boys division with a unanimous decision from the judges.
With about 250 happy competitors sharing about $40,000 worth of goodies, including nine new longboards, the 25th anniversary event was a huge success and is expected to raise several thousand dollars for charity, with the major beneficiaries being the Byron Bay Ambulance Service and the Byron Headland Trust.
LJ Hooker Open Men 1 Michael Black, 2 Harley Ingleby, 3 Michael Bellamy, 4 Seb Wilson (Coolum), 5 Ruben Roxburgh (Evans Head), 6 Scott Channon (Lennox Head). TP Health and Sunspirit Open Women 1 Angela King, 2 Selby Riddle, 3 Jodie Barsby, 3 Carmel McGrath (Cronulla), 4 Tegan Riddle (Coolangatta), 5 Taylor Miller (Byron Bay). Byron Bay First National Real Estate Junior Girls 1 Rani Bartlett, 2 Brigid Ryan, 3 Bonnie Donovan, 4 Rebecca Sourry, 5 Jessica Whyatt, 6 Alex Flemming. Byron Designworks Over-30 women 1 Sandy Calton, 2 Sally Paxton, 3 Kirsty Webster (Tweed), 4 Lisa Nicholson (Banora Point), 5 Fae Stevens, 6 Deb Tinker (Lennox Head). Hot Generation Surfboards Mystery 1 Keenan Roxburgh (Evans Head), 2 Ian Proctor (president of NZ Moana Nui Surfriders Club), 3 Kevin Devlin (Byron Bay), 4 Greg Lee, 5 Alex Neville (Terrigal), 6 Colin Walmsley. Earth 'n' Sea Pizza Junior Boys 1 Harrison Roach (Sunshine Coast), 2 Cameron Hiscox (Port Macquarie), 3 Bryce Young (Angourie), 4 Go Ishikawa (Byron Bay), 5 Beau Harrington (Byron Bay), 6 Tim Compton (Byron Bay). Hogs Breath Big Boys 1 John Black, 2 John Keevers (Byron Bay), 3 Peter Harris (Crescent Head), 4 Dave Keys, 5 Dave Edwards, 6 Paul Beaver (Sunshine Coast). Surfaids Over-60s 1 Alan Reid (Byron Bay), 2 Rusty Miller (Byron Bay), 3 Doug Andrew (Sunshine Coast), 4 Doug Warbrick (Torquay), 5 Bob Kennersen (Crescent Head), 6 John Fletcher (Byron Bay). Byron Bay Longboards Over-55s 1 Alan Atkins (Byron Bay), 2 John Giles (Byron Bay), 3 Geoff Arnold (Tweed Heads), 4 Ron Rudder (Newcastle), 5 Eddie Piper (Hawaii), 6 Garry Munson. Emma and Toms Life Juice Over-50 1 Eric Walker (Ballina), 2 Mike Pimm (Currumbin), 3 Robbye Deane (Coolangatta), 4 Lynden Riley (Manly), 5 Wayne McLeary (Gold Coast), 6 Peter Dutton (Cabarita). Golden Breed Over-45s 1 Sput Keevers (Byron Bay), 2 Mark Fuller (Eungai), 3 Ross Cribb Evans Head), 4 David Ryan, 5 Forfar Petrie (Lennox Head), 6 Paul Guthrie (Corindi Beach). Maui Jim Over-35s 1 Steve Mills, 2 Hayden Swan (Yamba), 3 Ian Pearson (Tweed Heads), 4 Ben Bennink (Byron Bay), 5 Reid Johnson (Noosa), 6 Rob King (Suffolk Park). Hot Generation Surfboards/Hang Ten Noserider 1 Bonga Perkins (Hawaii), 2 Harley Ingleby, 3 Michael Bellamy, 4 Michael Black, 5 Koa Enriquez (Hawaii), 6 Cameron Hiscox. Go Barefoot Old Mal 1 Gareth Donovan, 2 Mike Pimm, 3 Mark Fuller, 4 Ian Williams (Byron Bay), 5 Damian Andrew (Sunshine Coast), 6 Chris Bode (Sunshine Coast).