2009 Australian Longboard Titles

A great week of surfing, weather, waves and comradery was capped off with an amazing last day of competition at the Australian Longboard Titles.

Having seen 184 of Australia’s best converging on Port Macquarie, today represented the pinnacle with 11 National Titles awarded in front of a large crowd.

In the Open Men division Josh Constable (Noosa, QLD) highlighted to all why he is one of the greatest ever Australian surfers.

Defeating Harley Ingelby (Emerald Beach, NSW), Grant Thomas (Maroochydore, QLD) and Dane Pioli (Tweed Heads, NSW) , who finished second, third and fourth respectively, Constable extended his reign as the most successful amateur longboarder in Australian history.

“To win five Australian Titles is amazing,” he said.

“When I started surfing as a youngster I always dreamed of winning one National Title and a World Title,” he admitted.

“To achieve this and more is beyond words.”

Wrapped in an enthralling battle from start to finish, Constable was glad to get the nod ahead of great mates and excellent competitors.

With a see-sawing battle over the 25-minute finale, Constable and Ingelby traded blows until the very end.

“The level of surfing on show throughout the entire week has been first-class,” Constable admitted.

“It’s always good to be beat the best,” he said.

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2009 Sooruz Lacanau Pro in France 

The Sooruz Lacanau Pro, celebrating its 30th edition this week, got back to serious business today in consistent four to six foot (1.2 to 2 meter) waves for an action-packed day of surfing, top seeds and outsiders delivering world-class surfing to please the crowds. The expected new swell had hit the coast during the night and proceedings resumed at 7.30 AM for the completion of Round 2 before the last fourty-eight contenders could get on with their French campaign.

Making the trip from his Hossegor residence to support his friends Patrick Beven (Biarritz, FRA) and Michael Picon (Capbreton, FRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA) made a surprise visit to the ASP WQS 6-Star event where he placed runner-up in 2007 en route to qualifying for the ASP World Tour. Having chosen the most spectacular day of the week to show-up, Flores witnessed the intense battle taking place at Lacanau, with Alain Riou (Tahiti, PYF) taking an unquestionable lead over the remaining competitors in Heat 8 of Round 3, scoring the only perfect 10.00 point ride of the event so far.

Riou, who advanced through to Round 4, put up a show to tame the fast closing conditions on offer, the Reunion Island native showing great commitment and style to post an impressive the perfect score after linking three consecutive vertical maneuvers on a six-foot solid wave. Riou, who has had a promising year with a couple of solid results including a fifth in the ASP WQS 6-Star prime event in South Africa, showed he was back in good form today.

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Diocese of Orange will bless waves at Huntington Beach 

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange will, in solidarity with other faith traditions, host the second annual "Blessing of the Waves" at the iconic Huntington Beach Pier (400 Pacific Coast Highway) October 4, 2009, 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. The goal of this Diocesan sponsored prayer service and blessing is to bring together surfers and ocean-minded people, regardless of their faith tradition, to show spiritual appreciation for the ocean and all that it gives the planet and its population. This gathering demonstrates concern for a cherished environment already compromised by the effects of climate change, toxic emissions, and other pollution.

"In Orange County our beaches are more than simple geography; they are a cultural and spiritual center of our community. It is important that we recognize this common element in all our lives, regardless of faith tradition. Pope Benedict XVI and other spiritual leaders have called on all people to commit to the protection of the gifts of nature and preserve them for future generations. As we give thanks for this natural gift we must recognize that climate change disproportionately affects the economically disadvantaged. Environmental protection and curbing climate change is a matter of social justice that demands immediate action," said Most Rev. Tod D. Brown, Bishop of Orange. Pope Benedict recently commented during his 2009 Easter message; "Before it is too late, it is necessary to make courageous decisions that can recreate a strong alliance between humankind and the earth. A decisive ‘yes’ is needed to protect creation and also a strong commitment to invert those trends which risk leading to irreversibly degrading situations."

Southern California is home to many world-class surf breaks and the majority of these are in Orange County. Many people, including Catholics, spend much of their time surfing and enjoying the natural beauty of our coast line and recognize the spiritual importance of this natural asset. California’s coastal region is under significant threat due to pollution and global climate change. California will lose an estimated 41 square miles of coastline due to erosion by 2100, according to the California Climate Change Center. Wave height and wave shape – requisites for surfing are adversely affected by sea floor conditions influenced by silt and other detritus entering the ocean. Our beach water quality is already dangerous to the health of swimmers and others – between April 2008 and March 2009, 130 beaches in California were closed because of the presence of toxic waste and other hazards.

The Diocese of Orange organized this first of its kind interreligious event in 2008 drawing more than 400 participants to the Huntington Beach pier to take part in this community activity lead by Catholic clergy, Diocesan youth groups, and participants of various faith traditions. Participants called attention to the immeasurable importance of our oceans and beaches, and took a deeper look at their spiritual significance. The second annual interfaith event will be held in association with the Huntington Beach Centennial Celebration and will feature an opening prayer service, pledge to protect of our oceans and beaches, blessing of waves and attendees, acknowledgment of marine safety representatives, and close with surfing priests and other religious leaders. Dynamic surf and worship music will be provided "live" by The Wedge and Under Sky.

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