A powerhouse young surfer from Australia has fired the first shot in a winner-take-all global battle for the US$50,000 Kustom Air Strike bounty.
Mitch Coleborn, the 2007 ASP Australasian Junior Series Champion, has landed a crazy backhand flip while surfing in the Mentawai Islands.
The ride, filmed by Matt Shuster, has earned Coleborn the distinction of being the first official entrant in the Kustom Air Strike following the opening of an eight-month competition window in August.
Kustom Air Strike is open to all surfers, both amateurs and professional anywhere in the world, and is a quest to produce the most innovative and inspired aerial manoeuvre in surfing’s history.
Surf footwear brand Kustom is laying down US$50,000 cash to the winning surfer, while the videographer who records the manoeuvre scores a US$5000 cash prize.
Kustom’s General Manager Harry Truscott said Coleborn’s punt has set the bar high for other contestants.
“Clips started rolling in within a week of the contest launch, but all so far have been from earlier in the year, outside the contest window, said Truscott.
“Then we received notice that an entry from Mitch was coming down the line and, given that he is such an amazing aerial surfer, we knew it would be good. Then we saw it and were completely blown away! It is awesome to get a move of this quality as the opening salvo in the Air Strike.
“Mitch has thrown down a really big move to kick things off, and we can’t wait to see what the response will be from the world’s best aerial surfers.
Given that he paddled into this wave, it will take something pretty crazy to beat it. But with US$50,000 on the line, something crazy is exactly what we are expecting. Let the games begin!”
Coleborn’s wave, ridden at HT’s on 11 August 2008 as part of a shoot for Volcom, has been posted on the event’s official website, www.kustomairstrike.com to show the rest of the world what they’re chasing.
Filmer Matt Shuster said Coleborn had been trying to pull the move all day.
“He said that he could get the board to stay under him, but it kept flying away,” said Shuster.
“Just before this one (his Air Strike entry) he smashed his hip on his board. He said that he told himself he just needed to grab onto the board and, sure enough, on the next one he grabbed on and flipped it.”
The Kustom Air Strike winning entry will be the most radical and innovative ‘completed’ manoeuvre. Judges will vote on height, innovation and completion of the aerial and, while tow surfing is permitted, riders are not allowed to use straps.
The Kustom Air Strike mission first launched in Australia in 2006 and ran for two years as a domestic event only under the banner of Kustom Space Kadets. This year it has been opened to entrants from around the world.
Previous winners are Dion Agius, who won in 2006 with a backside flip in Bali, and Julian Wilson, who won with his renowned sushi roll in 2007.