Ben Player went back-to-back yesterday with a win in the Human Shark Island Challenge at Cronulla.
The current World Champion showed his versatility by dealing with the small 1 metre waves in a tradesman like fashion to defeat fellow Australian Ryan Hardy (Gold Coast) with Mark McCarthy (South Africa) in third and local rider John Showell (Cronulla) in fourth.
Ryan Hardy looked the man to beat from the get go with some strong early rides but Player secured victory with a rare tube ride in the final minutes.
“I honestly had conceded defeat and even congratulated Ryan when we were in the water. Then out of no-where a little peaked popped up and I no one wanted it, so I spun around and it turned into a good wave” said Ben.
“It’s a shame that the swell never came for the last part of the waiting period but, hey, that’s all part of being a professional bodyboarder. We just deal with whatever is happening on the day”
“It was an awesome event and thanks to everyone involved for putting on such a slick show”
Third placegetter Mark McCarthy was just one good wave away from victory in the close 30 minute final and in the final 60 seconds found a little ramp to bust one of his trademark back-flips. Mark had been landing these things all event and unfortunately could not complete the one that really mattered.
“I won’t tell you what I was saying under the water but it wasn’t nice…” said the humble South African. Local rider John Showell was happy to get a solid result by finishing fourth. “I had been surfing the Island in all conditions leading up to the event but on a day like today it comes down to who gets the waves”
Equal fifth went to Jonathan Vega (Canary Islands) and Max Arent (AUS). Equal seventh was Mike Stewart (Hawaii) & Oliver Hererra (Canary Islands).
The IBA Tour now heads towards South America for the next two stops at Rio Das Ostras (Brazil) and Arica (Chile) before a three leg European leg in August / September.
Source: IBA World Tour