Mark Richardson 

As the curtain closed on the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival nine Australian Surfmasters Titles were awarded at Lighthouse Beach today.

Having seen 344 competitors in 260 heats over the past two weeks with 23 Australian Titles handed out, the final day of competition was certainly one to remember.

Led by some amazing performances from a host athletes the biggest amateur surfing event in the country closed with a bang,

Mark Richardson (Palm Beach, QLD) was the king of Lighthouse Beach today, taking home his third Australian Title in the Open Men division.

“I’m lost for words,” the 37-year-old said, brimming from ear-to-ear.

“To have beaten the likes of my fellow finalists is something I’ll remember forever.”

Defeating Josh Johnson-Baxter (VIC), Eli Criaco (Coolum, QLD) and Jirrah Laws (VIC), who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Richardson was in amazing form from the get-go.

“The level of surfing in this event was first class,” he continued.

“I wasn’t even good enough to qualify for the Queensland team and here I am with the Aussie flag draped around me!”

Fellow Queenslander Dimity Stoyle (Buderim, QLD) continued where she left off yesterday with a commanding performance en-route to her maiden crown.

“I can’t believe I won my first Australian Title,” said the 17-year-old with glee.

“It’s such an amazing feeling.”

Having been locked into a see-sawing battle during the entire final, Stoyle pulled out all the stops.

“The conditions were really tricky out there, but I managed to find the right wave at the right time,” she said having secured the Title clinching wave with merely a minute remaining; and received a nine-point ride for her dynamic approach.

Defeating Tara Christie (Sunshine Coast, QLD), Jess Hickson (Pacific Palms, NSW) and Skye Burgess (Lake Heights, NSW), who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Stoyle is now the best in Australia.

Local boy Grant Hudson (Lake Cathie, NSW) was the champion of the Over 28 division, whilst Rod Baldwin (Copacabana, NSW) won his third National Title, winning the Over 45 division.

“The competition has been really high and has definitely pushed my surfing,” Baldwin said after winning his third Australian Title.

“It’s been a great week of weather and waves and to hang out with all crew again has been awesome,” he added.

Another seasoned campaigner, Sandra English (Budgewoi, NSW) created history today by claiming her tenth Australian Title.

“There’s no better feeling than winning an Aussie Title,” she said ecstatically.

“That’s my tenth Australian Title,” she stated proudly.

“It’s been a dream of mine to won ten and to have done it is such a great feeling.”

Dean Hall (Miami, QLD) put up the greatest performance of the day, and event, saving his best for last.

Accruing the highest heat total and single wave score of the entire event, Hall was on-fire in the Over 35 division.

Blasting a series of backhand re-entry’s executed with precision and power he amassed a total of 18.55 (out of a possible 20), on the back of that 9.8 (out of a possible 10).

After another massive year, the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival will turn its attention to 2010 which will no doubt see it back and bigger than ever.

For all finalists, LIVE scores, results, images, daily video highlights and all information regarding the Country Energy Australian Surf Festival please visit www.australiansurffestival.com.

The Country Energy Australian Surf Festival will take place from August 15 – 29 2009 at Port Macquarie.

The Country Energy Australian Surf Festival is presented by Surfing Australia and Surfing NSW and is proudly supported by Country Energy, Events NSW, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Mercure Centro Hotel, Port Macquarie Hastings Council, Port Macquarie Tourism, Tourism NSW, Australian Sports Commission , Ocean & Earth, Coastalwatch, Sydney Weekender, Port Macquarie News, NBN TV, Star FM, Macquarie Hotel, The Town Green Inn, Australia’s Surfing Life Magazine and Australian Longboarding Magazine.

Australian Surfmasters Titles – FINAL RESULTS

Open Men
MARK RICHARDSON (QLD) - 14.75
JOSH JOHNSON BAXTER (VIC) - 12.15
ELI CRIACO (QLD) - 11.75
JIRRAH LAWS (VIC) - 9.25

Open Women
DIMITY STOYLE (QLD)- 14.00
TARA CHRISTIE (QLD) - 11.15
JESS HICKSON (NSW) - 10.45
SKYE BURGESS (NSW) - 7.10

Over 28 Men
GRANT HUDSON (NSW) - 14.25
DEAN HALL (QLD) - 14.05
WAYNE MORRISON (NSW) - 11.00
JOSH FULLER (NSW) - 9.90

Over 35 Women
SANDRA ENGLISH (NSW) - 11.50
SHARON JACKSON (QLD) - 10.85
MELISSA DART HARRISON (VIC) - 5.75
MICHELLE ASHTON (NSW) - 2.60

Over 35 Men
DEAN HALL (QLD) - 18.55
BRETT BANNISTER (NSW) - 15.50
GLYNDYN RINGROSE (VIC) - 13.40
MARK RICHARDSON (QLD) - 12.00

Over 40 Men
PAUL WAYLAND (NSW) - 14.50
CHRIS BROOKS (QLD) - 11.90
GLEN PRINGLE (NSW) - 11.45
JAMES ELLEN (QLD) - 6.65

Over 45 Men
ROB BALDWIN (NSW) - 14.75
DAVE MACAULAY (WA) - 12.25
MARK TRAUCNIEKS (QLD) - 8.75
MARK HARRISON (VIC) - 6.20

Over 50 Men
NEIL CAMERON (NSW) - 15.40
MARK LLOYD (VIC) - 11.60
JOHN SKINNER (NSW) - 6.75
NEVILLE WILLIAMS (QLD) - 3.90


SOURCE: Surfing Australia