Ryan Hardy 

The Mandurah Wedge turned on what can be only described as ‘perfect’ conditions for the opening round of the EBB State Bodyboard Series held over the weekend. With a solid swell pushing into the metro area on Saturday, waves in the 3-4 foot range provided some of WA’s best bodyboarders the opportunity to impress in front of the peers, spectators and superstars of the bodyboarding world, including Ryan Hardy.

The first event for 2009 will be remembered for the great new event location, the star studded field which included the who’s who of WA bodyoarding, and the record number of entries that made this one of the biggest and most hotly contested bodyboarding events in years. With the new and old guard of bodyboarding competing alongside on another the level of competition was extremely high and provided nothing less than inspiring entertainment for those lining the rocks at the Wedge.
 
Some of the renowned names that entered the Open Men’s division included Ryan Hardy (Scarborough) who has long been considered one of the world’s best bodyboarders, Chad Jackson (Woodlands) current Australian Tour competitor, Tension Video Series creator Chris White (Scarborough), Lee Szcepanski (Margaret River) who is a current National Title holder, and super grom Alex Halsey (Woodvale) who stepped up to defend his State Title from 2008.
 
Given the short and intense ride offered at the Wedge it was always going to be a ‘barrel and boost’ event, with the judges looking to reward those that were going big and getting deep. With the swell expected to moderate during Saturday, event officials decided to push through the blue ribbon Open Men’s division on day one.
 
“It was important to give our best guys the best conditions of the weekend, and that was definitely the Saturday.” Said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks.
 
The opening heats of the day set the tone for what was to come for the rest of the weekend. Chad Jackson set about stamping his authority on the event with some huge inverts and rolls which saw the judges drop the first perfect 10 point ride of the weekend. Jackson was joined in the quarter finals by strong performances of Ryan Donovan (City Beach), Johnno Russell (Madora Bay), Lee Szcepanski, Brendan Gabel (Mandurah), Aiden Stampalia (Joondalup), Ben Vietch (Margaret River), Alex Halsey and Ryan Hardy.
 
“Its so much fun out there, conditions are perfect”, commented Jackson who continually achieved the days biggest scores with little effort.

As the day progressed, conditions improved with the tide settling and the winds becoming glassy. The Open Men’s final saw the form surfers meet in the highly anticipated last heat of day one. It was a case of old school versus the new school with Ryan Hardy and Chad Jackson taking on a pair of juniors with huge potential Aiden Stampalia and Alex Halsey.

The twenty five minute final saw Hardy throw down the challenge to his younger finalist, with a number of deep tube sections followed up by some huge rolls and inverts on the end section. A combination of experience and stamina gave Hardy the edge against his fellow finalists. The 2009 IBA Pipeline champion was now Mandurah Wedge champion with Alex Halsey finishing in a close second, a wave starved Chad Jackson in third and making his first ever Open Men’s final was Aiden Stampalia in fourth.
 
“Its so good to win an event where its just you and your friends in the water. The waves today were great and to be able to surf in a comp which isn’t dog eat dog is always an added bonus.” Said Hardy, who remains focus on capturing the 2009 World Bodyboard Title.
 
“Yeah certainly my goal this year is the World Title, I cant see myself competing for a State or National Title at this stage, but I’ll always support the WA events if there’s going to be good waves like we had today.”
 
Hardy will now look to prepare for the upcoming World Tour Events in Brazil in April and May.
 
In other results from the weekend Lee Szcepanski took out the Senior Men’s division ahead of John Barker (Mandurah) in second, Tim Fowler (Padbury) third and Shem Mahoney (Mosman Park) fourth. Szcepanski pulled some of the biggest airs of the weekend and looks set to defend his National Title at D-Bah (QLD) later this year.
 
The Drop Knee division was won by Chad Abbott (Singleton) who picked off the best waves to pip Mike Dobson (Scarborough) for the win, with Kim Feast (Margaret River) in third and Mark Boehm (Scarborough) in fourth place.
 
“I rarely surf this place as its pretty tricky on the knee, but Im stoked with the result.
 
Alex Halsey lived up to all expectations with a dominate win in the Junior Men’s division. Halsey who has had tongues waging lately showed he’s the real deal with win to sign off a hugely successful weekend for the seventeen year old. Aiden Stampalia was another to impress over the weekend with a second place finish in the Junior’s. Third place went to Charlie Carter (Dianella) and Cameron Dick (Falcon) finished in fourth.
 
Lewy Finnegan (Ocean Reef) won the Cadet’s U16 division ahead of close friend George Humphreys (Mandurah) in second. Tom Purivs (Margaret River) finished in third, with Cameron Hutchins (Ocean Reef) in fouth.
 
Other winners from the weekend included Kirby Smith (Lansdale) in the Open Women’s division, Kacey Lee Middleton (Geraldton) in the Junior Women’s division. Davis Blackwell (Madurah) won the Grommets U14 division at his home break. Steve Black (Thornlie) won the Masters division and Steve Lukehurst (Cottesloe) won the Grand Masters division.
 
The success of the first round of competition will ensure that Mandurah Wedge remains a permanent fixture on the Surfing WA events calendar for many years to come. The next round of the EBB State Bodyboard Series presented by Unite Clothing takes place at Scarborough Beach on the 23rd and 24th of May.
 
Big thanks must also be extended to the crew at the Mandurah Bodyboarding Club for all their help and assistance over the weekend.
 
Proudly supported by: Excluisvely Bodyboarding, Unite Clothing, SunSmart and Surfing Western Australia.
 
 
FINAL RESULTS
 
Open Men:
1.       Ryan Hardy (Scarborough), 2. Alex Halsey (Woodvale), 3. Chad Jackson (Woodlands), 4. Aiden Stampalia (Joondalup).
 
Open Women:
1.       Kirby Smith (Lansdale), 2. Christina Orso (Mt Hawthorn).
 
Drop Knee:
1. Chad Abbott (Singleton), 2. Mike Dobson (Scarborough), 3. Kim Feast (Margaret River), 4. Mark Boehm (Scarborough).
 
Under 18 Girls:
1.       Kacey Lee Middleton (Gerladton)
 
Under 18 Boys:
1.       Alex Halsey (Woodvale), 2. Aiden Stampalia (Joondalup), 3. Charlie Carter (Dianella), 4. Cameron Dicks (Falcon).
 
Under 16 Boys:
1.       Lewy Finnegan (Ocean Reef), 2. George Humphreys (Mandurah), 3. Tom Purvis (Margaret River), 4. Cameron Hutchins (Ocean Reef)).
 
Under 14 Boys:
1.       Davis Blackwell (Mandurah).
 
Senior Men:
1.       Lee Szcepanski (Margaret River)), 2. John Barker (Mandurah), 3. Tim Fowler (Padbury), 4. Shem Mahoney (Mosman Park).
 
Masters:
1.       Steve Black (Thornlie)
 
Grand Masters:
1.       Steve Lukehurst (Cottelsoe).


SOURCE: IBA Australasia