BIG LOSS: Stu Kennedy has infected eardrums and will be missing from the Le-Ba team for the Australian Boardriders Battle in Newcastle this weekend.
BIG LOSS: Stu Kennedy has infected eardrums and will be missing from the Le-Ba team for the Australian Boardriders Battle in Newcastle this weekend. Kelly Cestari

Drummed out of Australian Boardriders battle

INFECTED eardrums will keep Lennox-Ballina surfer Stu Kennedy out of the water at the Australian Boardriders Battle in Newcastle this weekend.

The former World Championship Tour competitor was set to surf for Le-Ba in the skins (individual) part of the event this morning.

Kennedy has just come off the WCT after two years in the professional ranks and will surf in the Qualifying Series this season in the hope of getting back on the top tour next year.

"Stu is a late scratching because both his ears are infected,” Le-Ba president Don Munro said.

"There is a QS event that starts here on Monday and he'll be aiming to get back in the water for that.

"But we're on track with our team here and it's a major event for the club these days.”

Le-Ba still has a formidable team comprising former WCT surfer Adam Melling, James Wood, Stephanie Single and two of their best juniors in Mikey McDonagh and Nyxie Ryan.

Melling was on the professional tour for many years before he failed to re-qualify at the end of 2016.

Byron Bay is another of the 24 teams to qualify for the national finals this weekend and will be led by former world No3 Danny Wills.

The team also includes Soli Bailey, Joel Paxton, Jarred Sullivan and Kirsty Zoric.

Byron Bay won its qualifying round at Coffs Harbour in October and Le-Ba finished second.

"Both teams deserve to be here and we probably haven't gone as well as we could have here in the past,” Munro said.

"I think we're due for a better result with the team we have and it's only a matter of time before one of us wins it.

"Guys like Adam, James and Stu will always be part of our club and it's exciting for younger surfers like Mikey and Nyxie to be here. They have been some of our best juniors in recent years and we have a stack of them coming through at the club.”

Former Lennox Head surfer and current world champion Tyler Wright will surf for her home club of Culburra along with younger brother Mikey Wright.

Both days of competition will be televised on Fox Sports.



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