Dusty Payne 

Dusty Payne, the teenage surfer from Hawaii who went within a whisker of winning the 2008 Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii, has gone one better by winning the world’s richest single manoeuvre surfing competition.

Payne was today awarded the US$50,000 cash purse as the winner of the Kustom Air Strike, an eight-month global search for the best aerial surfing manoeuvre. Videographer Matt Shuster also collected US$5000 for capturing vision of the massive air reverse, which was filmed during downtime between the Triple Crown events late in 2008.

Ironically, Joel Parkinson, the current world title ratings leader who edged out Payne for the Triple Crown title, headed the judging panel for the Kustom Air Strike.

“Dusty’s aerial was unreal’, said Joel. “It was a big section that he hit and the way he landed he should have broken his legs, but he landed so smoothly and just rode it out.’

“The $50k for one move is really pushing the aerial guys to be more innovative. It’s unbelievable and I can’t wait until next year’s event!”

Payne said the Kustom Air Strike victory allowed him to look into buying an apartment in Western Australia with fellow finalist Jay Davies, a deal they made prior to the winner’s announcement should either of them claim victory.

“This is unbelievable, I’m speechless,” said Dusty at hearing the news at a Bondi restaurant late on Easter Friday night. “I didn’t even realise I was in the running, this is the best Good Friday ever!”

Judging panel member and Kustom general manager, Harry Truscott, said there was vigorous debate over the aerials short-listed for final judging.

“The quality of the entries builds each year and we had a wealth of incredible clips by the time the eight-month competition window closed,” he said.
 
“I think it fair to say each of the judges had a tough time going through the entries and coming in to the final judging the cash could have gone to any of three or four surfers.

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Taylor Knox 

Following yesterday’s near perfection of light offshore wind and solid swell, event organizers were greeted this morning with heavy wind and rain prompting a call for a lay day at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers.


Event No. 2 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach has completed Round 1 as well as the opening 12 heats of Round 2, and with improving weather and waves fore for the next two days, event organizers are confident in finishing in excellent conditions.

“We monitored conditions this morning for a couple of hours and the fores indicate that the next two days will provide us with the ideal situation for finishing,” Damien Hardman, Rip Curl Pro Contest Director, said. “We’ll be back at 7am tomorrow to make a call for a possible 7:30am start.”

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Owen Wright defeated Kelly Slater

Pumping surf in the six-foot (2 metre) range and dramatic performances marked today’s action as the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers steamrolled through the first 12 heats of Round 2.

The second stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach saw excellent surf on offer throughout the day as the world’s best surfers narrowed the competitive field down to the final 20.

Owen Wright (AUS), 19, Rip Curl Pro wildcard, caused the upset of the event, eliminating reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro winner Kelly Slater (USA), 37, during Round 2 of competition. The young Australian drove out to an early lead with his critical backhand attack, netting a 14.67 out of a possible 20, while Slater hunted barrels on his forehand.

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