Mono Stewart riding wave of success after ISA win
BYRON Bay surfer Mark "Mono" Stewart has made history by taking out the top spot in the first ever ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in California.
The Northern Rivers contestant was up against tough competition in the finals, managing to score a heat total of 11.13 in small bumpy surf.
The score put him ahead of South African Antony Smyth who scored 10.66, Brazilian Alcino Silva Neto on 8.43 and Hawaiian legend Mike Coots, who scored 6.03.
Mr Stewart said he had been waiting a long time to compete against other adaptive athletes and to take gold was something he had only ever dreamt about.
"I am just completely overwhelmed and it is a dream come true, I still can't really believe it has happened," he said.
"I have met so many awesome people this week who have blown me away with their stories, it is just really touching to see so many dedicated people who love the ocean as much as I do, and it has been an amazing week."
The competition was held at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California.
As well as the world championship competition, which was held on Friday and Sunday, the event also included an adaptive surfing clinic and adaptive surfing symposium on Saturday.
Mr Stewart said he was "stoked" to be invited to speak and display his board at the ISA's adaptive surfing symposium for lasting growth and development of the sport.
Ahead of the competition Mr Stewart, 52, has said the hardest part of competing on the world stage was managing the stress and pressure.
"The pressure's mainly coming from myself because I know what I can do and how I can surf, I just hope I can do it during the contest."
In the lead up to the competition, Mr Stewart trained at the Hurley Surfing Australia High Performance Centre at Casuarina Beach.
The long-time board rider has had to develop his own unique style of surfing after losing his right leg to osteosarcoma (bone cancer) at 15.