Soldiers Beach Pro: flyin' high

Day three of the Soldiers Beach Pro saw an epic show down between the top 16 and back 16 riders.

Conditions were punchy in the 3 to 4 feet range (1.0 metre), however onshore winds made conditions tough and wave selection proved to be crucial with many competition favorites eliminated from the event.

Making an early exit today in round four were 9 times World Champion Mike Stewart, 2 times World Champion Ben Player and crowd favourites Ryan Hardy, Mitch Rawlins, Brad Hughes and Pierre Loius Costes.

Despite the upsets, it was the day of the underdogs with some stella performances from some young Australian and international riders.

Heat eight of round five saw a showdown between Michael Novy of Queensland taking on 2 times world champion Jeff Hubbard of Hawaii.

Hubbard led for all of the heat and the current world champion looked certain to progress with a solid combined wave total of 14.64, leaving Novy requiring a 9.27 to progress through.

With ten seconds to go it seemed that Hubbard would certainly progress, when from no where a wave came through with Novy in priority.

The Queenslander realised the score that he needed, and launched into a huge section of the wave projecting six feet above the lip with an air reverse, leaving the judging panel in ore throwing down perfect 10's and winning Michael the heat.

"I didn't think that I was going to make it through and even when I saw that wave come along I was still worried as it was a really hard landing and I thought I would come off" Said Novy.

Michael was unlucky earlier in the heat as a wave that would have scored between an 8.50 and 9.50 was given a zero by the judges as he took off on a wave for which Hubbard had priority.

"It's really good, I was put off after that wave wasn't scored because Jeff took off on the right.

"I have had a few heats with Jeff before and he always gets me, so it's pretty good to beat him".

Port Macquaries 2 time World Champion Damian King has continued his solid run of competitions off the back of a forth place result at the Turbo Pipeline Pro.

Today Damian took down perianal performer Ryan Hardy, Mark Parsons and Puerto Rico's number one bodyboader Jorge Colomer.

"I am pretty tired after my last heat with Jorge as I got stuck in a rip with four minutes to go and I spent the rest of the heat kicking and paddling". Said King

"I prefer the 2 man heats as they make the competition a little bit more intense.

"It's awesome to have an international event back in Australia".

Jared Houston of South Africa and Amaury Laverhne of the Reunion Islands were the most solid international performers.

Amaury the number one seed in the competition is coming off a win at Pipeline but is trying to put the good result in the past and take the event heat by heat.

"I am pretty stoked with the result today, the conditions were tough and it was hard to get the good waves". Said Amaury.

"Since the win at Pipeline I have been hanging out and surfing in Western Australia, I love it over there so I am feeling pretty good coming into this event".

Tomorrow will see the Soldiers Beach champion crowned with the following match ups hitting the water.

QUARTER FINAL 1 Chad Jackson (AUS) v Amaury Laverhne (REU)
OUARTER FINAL 2 Jared Houston (SAF) v Sam Bennett (AUS)
QUARTER FINAL 3 Joe Clarke (AUS) v Damian King (AUS)
QUARTER FINAL 4 Jones Russell (AUS) v Michael Novy (AUS)

The Pro DK and Womens heats hit the water late this afternoon and Lilly Pollard was the standout with a strong combination of siolid moves.

Jane Keel turned alot of heads as the "New kid on the block" by defeating the more experienced pair of Lauren Knowles and Lauren Fletcher.


SOURCE: IBA World Tour