Williams delivers seventh heaven
TWEED'S Chelsea Williams won the Australian longboard surfing open for the seventh time in a nerve-wracking final at Kingscliff yesterday.
Californian Jennifer Smith threatened to spoil Williams' party but it wasn't to be.
Needing a 7.21 ride (out of a possible 10) in the closing stages of the final to overhaul Williams, Smith scored 7.20 to draw level but Williams prevailed in the countback thanks to her highest single wave score (9.17).
Hawaiians Crystal Dzigas and Candice Appleby finished third and fourth respectively.
"I was pretty worried," Williams said.
"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."
In the men's event world champion Taylor Jensen survived a late charge by former world champion Harley Ingleby of Emerald Waters.
The Californian made the most of the tricky conditions, racking up a 7.43 ride before backing it up with an 8.33, the highest scoring ride of the final.
Ingleby scored an 8.27 with 10 minutes remaining, but it wasn't enough with Jensen holding on for the win.
Sunshine Coast duo Nic Jones and Dane Wilson filled the minor places.
Finals were held yesterday in all divisions including the SUP Pro with Tweed's Beau Nixon (18.70) dominating to easily account for fellow Tweed surfer Jackson Close (13.53).
Nixon exploded out of the blocks to quickly put the final beyond doubt, scoring an 8.83 and a near-perfect 9.87.
The prestigious event featured men's and women's Association of Surfing Professionals Longboard Qualifying Series divisions with $20,000 in prizemoney.