- 18 April 2010 | Bodyboarding
International Bodyboarding has made a massive return to Australia for the Soldiers Beach Pro Presented by Beachin-Surf.
The event was the first IBA sanctioned event for nearly three years after the Human Shark Island Challenge dropped off the circuit in 2008. The final was two times World Champion Damian King from Australia (Port Macquarie) versus the up and coming South African Jared Houston.
Both King and Houston have been in phenomenal form so far in 2010 with both making it through to the Pipeline Pro final in February. In Kings road to the top he knocked out the following riders, Ryan Hardy, Mark Parsons, Jorge Colomer, Joe Clarke and Michael Novy.
Whilst Houston's scalps included Ben Player, Nathan Branch, Dan Worsley, Sam Bennett and Amaury Lavernhe. As expected both King and Houston came out firing, both launching into waves in the opening seconds of the heat. King took the early lead with a 6.60, however Houston came back with a quick 5.17 and 6.63.
The lead changed back and forth right through out the first fifteen minutes of the final, with a barrage of Air Rolls Spins and flips from both the Aussie and South African. However, Kings experience with using the priority system as conditions slowed down in the back fifteen minutes saw him eventually taking him the final, by a mere .67 points.
King put together a combined wave total of 12.77 over Jared Houston's 12.10.
"I am feeling really good, it wasn't the action packed final that I was hoping for but I am still stoked" said Damian. "I just had to play a smart heat to beat Jared today.
Damian has just returned to competitive bodyboarding in the past twelve months after taking a well deserved break, but admits it has been a tough road back to the top.
"I didn't think that I was going to win the event today, Jared has been surfing really well. "A few years ago I was just 'competitioned out', but with the help of some new and better sponsorship deals I have been able to get right back into it.
"I really want to give a massive shout out to Jared, twelve months ago I hadn't heard of him and now he's coming second in world tour events".
The second for Houston backs up his third place at Pipeline, putting him in a prime position to take a shot at the 2010 World Title.
"I am feeling really good. I am so stoked to be in the third final this year and I hope to keep it up in the next South American leg of the tour", said Jared. "My equipment at the moment is really good so I am feeling really confident for the next part of the tour. Hopefully I can do well in Brazil, Chile and Peru".
Finishing in equal third place were Amaury Lavernhe of the Reunion Islands and Michael Novy of Australia. Amaury was pleased with the result as he sets up his 2010 World Title campaign.
"I am actually really happy with this result, my main aim going into this competition was to make the semi finals", said Amaury. "I was feeling really relaxed in my last heat, however I stupidly lost priority twice and Jared was surfing really well so it wasn't the time to be making mistakes".
International General Manager Terry McKenna was ecstatic with the result and welcomes international bodyboarding back to Australia.
"This event has been the perfect platform for the IBA to re-launch in Australia", said McKenna. "We look forward to being back in the Wyong Shire for the event next year, plus we are currently in negotiations with local governments around Australia to secure a Grand Slam event in one of Australia's many waves of consequence".
FINAL PRO MENS
Damian King (AUD) 12.77 DEFEATED Jared Houston (SAF) 12.10