Coastwatch Surf For Life

Despite small waves and temperatures that were pushing 40 degrees, a mix of WA celebrities, sporting identities, pro-surfers and local junior grommets converged on Trigg beach for the second event of the Coastalwatch Surf for Life Series. The fun, exhibition-style surf event was run to raise vital funds and awareness for the Starlight Children’s Foundation which delivers programs across the country to lift the spirits of ill children when they need it most.

With clean one foot waves were on offer at Trigg, plus a strong beach crowd soaking up the action, it was the team of Ry Craike (Kalbarri) and Chad Fletcher (Subiaco) that took the honours in a day filled with laughter, fun and excitement. Arguably one of the world’s hottest free surfing talents, Craike didn’t hold back throwing his trademark fin whafts and futuristic surfing to the amazement of the packed beach. 2006 West Coast Eagles premiership player Chad Fletcher traded his boots for a board and looked as comfortable in the water as he does running the wings of Subiaco Oval.

The team of goofy footers made the most a left hander running through the competition area, and set about amassing some great scores throughout the day. Although they were surfing for a charity and not for ratings points the competition was still fierce, as West Coast Eagle players Daniel Kerr, Will Schofield, and Matt Spanger all did their best to stop their former team mate Fletcher.

“This is the first time I’ve ever made a final in any surfing event, and to actually win it is a great feeling.” Said Fletcher, who puts a lot of his success down to his teammate Ry Craike.

“Ry is an unbelievable surfer, he can almost anything on his board. Even though the waves were small he was still tearing to pieces. I was lucky just to nab a few off him during the final.” Said Fletcher.

With a massive international profile Craike was swamped by adoring fans chasing signatures and a picture with their hero. “Its still all pretty overwhelming to be asked by grommets for your signature, so I was definitely going to be part of an event that benefits kids across the country.” Craike said.

World Qualifying Series campaigner Luke Campbell (Trigg) teamed up with actor Rocky McKenzie (Broome) for a hard fought second place. For Campbell adjusting to the waves at home after competing in the season ending WQS events in Hawaii was a bit of a struggle. “Coming from pumping 6-8 feet waves in Hawaii, back to typical one foot Trigg is always going to make things hard, but its all about the kids so Im stoked to have made the final here today.” He commented.

To see a few of WA’s best surfer’s trade their normal shortboards in for an 8 foot soft board was pretty amusing. “Its cool to see the boys just relaxed and having some fun without the constraints of a normal event is awesome, even better that the proceeds benefit the Star Light Foundation.” Said event commentator Mark ‘Boong’ Clift.

Other WA personalities that competed included Adam Mills (Professional Boxer), Brendan Green (Danny Green’s brother and trainer), Chris Hilton (Owner of the Ocean 1 Bar), Graham Brimage (Director of Department of Sport and Recreation), Damon Hayes (Rusty International Marketing Manager) and ‘Simmy’ (Plucka Duck from Hey Hey its Saturday).

Some of WA’s top junior surfers also spared some time for the worthy cause, they included Jerome Forrest (# 45 in ASL’s Hottest 100), Jake Fawcett (Team Australia Squad Member), Darcy Maynard (# 84 in ASL’s Hottest 100), Mikalea Greene (3rd U16 Girls 2009 Australian National Titles) and Lachlan Mazzucchelli (WA State Team Member) who all used their small waves skills to perfection.

Given the extreme heat Surfing WA decided to utilise teams of two rather than the typical teams of three. Events Manager Justin Majeks explains “It was so hot down the beach that we tweaked the format a bit to allow for as many teams as possible in the water at once. It was our only way to keep everyone cool and having as much fun as possible. The sand must have been 60 degrees it was that hot.”

The association is proud to announce that through the Quiksilver Warner surfboard raffle, plus money gathered at the Surfing WA Annual General Meeting and State Champion Presentation that $1500 was raised to benefit the Starlight Children’s Foundation. A big thank you to each staff members, volunteer, surfer and spectator for making the 2009 Coastalwatch Surf For Life such a resounding success.

The Coastalwatch Surf For Life series now moves to Torquay Victoria for Event 3 of the 5 event National Series. Partnering Coastalwatch and the Starlight Children's Foundation in the event is the Quiksilver Foundation, which is a non-profit organization committed to benefiting and enhancing the quality of life for communities of boardriders across the world by supporting environmental, educational, health and youth-related projects.

For more information about the Coastalwatch Surf For Life series, please go to www.surfingaustralia.com

The Coastalwatch Surf For Life is proudly supported by the Starlight Children's Foundation, Quiksilver Foundation, Surfing World Magazine, Surfing Australia and Surfing WA.

Coastalwatch Surf for Life Event Schedule:

Event 1: 5th December - Maroubra, Sydney, NSW
Event 2: 12th December - Trigg Point, Perth, WA
Event 3: 2nd January - Torquay, VIC
Event 4: 9th Jan - Victor Harbour, Sth Aust
Event 5: 27th February - Snapper Rocks, Quiksilver Pro, Qld


SOURCE: Coastal Watch