Alex Halsey: a shy winner

For the second consecutive year the opening event of the EBB WA State Bodyboard Series has been blessed with ideal conditions and pumping surf. WA’s best bodyboarders battled it out over the weekend at one Australia’s most notorious locations, the Mandurah Wedge. In what is fast becoming a breeding ground for future talent, the EBB WA State Series showcased some extraordinary performances in bone rattling waves.

After its inception in 2008, Mandurah Wedge has become the perfect location to test not only the skill of the competitors but also their courage levels, as waves in the 3-4 feet range pounded the rocky break wall all weekend. The hopes of over 80 competitors were rewarded with clean winds and a building swell, which meant Saturday’s preliminary heats were only a warm up for Sunday’s finals action. The new generation of WA bodyboarding brought added flair and enthusiasm, increasing the level of competition and providing inspiring entertainment for those lining the rocks at the Wedge.

“There are very few locations where you can be so close to the action. Guys are getting barrelled and boosting massive airs only meters away from the shore. There’s water and mist flying everywhere. The natural amphitheatre here creates an atmosphere in the water and on the rocks that you don’t get at many places.” Commented Mandurah Bodyboard Club President John Barker.

Some of the renowned names that entered the blue ribbon Open Men’s Division included two time defending State Champion Alex Halsey (Woodvale), who was out to attempt a record three State Titles in a row. Halsey meet stiff competition from the likes of Ben Veitch (Margaret River), Tim Fowler (Padbury), Phil Windsor (Mandurah), Brendan Gabel (Mandurah) and former world # 2 Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough) who all stepped up in an attempt to draw first blood for 2010. In arguably one of the best bodyboard events held in WA recently, Mandurah Wedge allowed the best riders to display their talent in front of their peers, judges and a strong crowd who had pilled in to see the action.

A super consistent and seemingly relaxed Alex Halsey simply let his surfing do the talking with an emphatic win in the Open Men’s division. Halsey continually posted the highest combined heat scores over the weekend, and his 18.17pt total from a possible 20 in the final was far too good for his nearest rivals. His mix off critical reverses and inverts were higher, cleaner and better executed than his fellow finalists and Halsey was stoked with the result.

“I love this place and to score a comp with good waves both days is so lucky. Thanks to everyone here that’s come to watch and support us and to my sponsors as well.” He said.

Phil Windsor continued his rapid improvement to finish in second place ahead of Ben Veitch in third place and Tim Fowler in fourth.

In other results from the weekend, up and coming ripper Lewy Finnegan (Ocean Reef) was pushed to the wire in a close U18 Junior Men’s Final. Finnegan went head to head with close friend George Humphreys (Mandurah) in a shoot out on the water. Despite Humphreys’ scoring a perfect 10pt ride for a massive invert on his opening ride, but it was Finnegan’s combination of manoeuvres that gave him the nod from the judges. Humphreys’ finished in second, with Aiden Stampalia (Joondalup) in third and Brady Devenny (Busselton) making his first state final ended up fourth.

Davis Blackwell (Manddurah) was leaps and bounds ahead of his rivals in the U16 Cadet Boys with a dominant performance at his home break.

“This is my local, so I have a bit of a home ground advantage and it was good to have some waves. Thanks to all the boys and everyone that made it such a great final.” Blackwell said.

Blackwell’s 7.50pt ride and back up 6.00pt ride out gunned Calvin Best (Cottesloe) who finished strongly in second. Mark Shearman (Clarkson) was competitive in third and James Purvis (Margaret River) finished in fourth.

The Drop Knee division was won by Trent Sandford (Trigg), who like all competitors found Mandurah Wedge a tricky spot to ride, especially on the knee. Sandford picked off the waves that allowed him to show off his great DK style. It was tight in the end for the win with Kim Feast (Gracetown) nipping at Sandford’s heals for much of the heat. Chad Abbott (Mandurah) finished in third with Joe Jordanoff in fourth place.

“Im pretty keen to make it to Nationals this year, so I guess this is a good start to getting there.” Sandford said after his heat.

The O24 Senior Men’s division lived up to all expectations with a number of former State Champions and experienced competitors lining up against each other. In a spectators delight Tim Fowler, Joe Jordanoff, John Barker and Louis Stone (Subiaco) put on a show in the 25 minute final, showing the young guys how it’s done. Tim Fowler posted a perfect 10 for an amazing tube to claim the win. Despite an 8.00pt ride Joe Jordanoff had to settle for second, with gutsy performance for John Barker in third, ahead of Stone in fourth.

“This is my favourite wave and to get it with only three other guys out in the water with you its sick.” Said an elated Fowler.

Other winners from the weekend included Rio Clake (Mosman Park) in the Open Women’s division who defeated Kasey Lee Middleton (Geraldton). Gary Dunne(Connolly) won the Grommets U14 division, while Steve Black (Thornlie) won the Masters division.

In a new initiative to reward performances over the weekend, the Reeflex Wetsuits Rising Star Award went to Brady Devenny, for an awesome first up effort at the EBB State Bodyboard Series.

Big thanks must also be extended to the crew at the Mandurah Bodyboarding Club for all their help and assistance over the weekend.

Be sure to check out www.surfingwa.com.au or check out www.ebb.net.au for all event updates and information.

FINAL RESULTS

Open Men: 1. Alex Halsey (Woodvale) , 2. Phil Windsor (Mandurah), 3. Ben Veitch (Margaret River), 4. Tim Fowler (Padbury).

Senior Men: 1. Tim Fowler (Padbury) , 2. Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough), 3. John Barker (Mandurah), 4. Louis Stone (Subiaco).

Open Women: 1. Rio Clarke (Mosman Park) , 2. Kasey Lee Middleton (Geraldton).

U18 Junior Men: 1. Lewy Finnegan (Ocean Reef), 2. George Humphreys (Mandurah), 3. Aiden Stampalia (Joondalup), 4. Brady Devenny (Busselton).

U16 Cadet Boys: 1. Davis Blackwell (Mandurah) , 2. Calvin Best (Cottesloe), 3. Mark Shearman (Clarkson), 4. James Purvis (Margaret River).

U14 Grom Boys: 1. Gary Dunne (Connolly), 2. Mitch Ward, 3. Sam Georgiou.

Drop Knee: 1.Trent Sandford (Trigg), 2. Kim Feast (Gracetown), 3. Chad Abbott (Mandurah), 4. Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough).

Masters Men: 1. Steve Black (Thornlie).


SOURCE: IBA Australasia