Gavin Coleman is the new World Kneeboard Champion

Australian surfer Gavin Coleman today (Friday 17th April) defended his World Kneeboard Champion beating three fellow Australians in the Open Men’s Final of the 2009 ISA World Kneeboard Surfing Titles.  Coleman led the Australians to seven of the eleven titles over the six day event.  Taranaki surfer Hamish Christophers took a crowd pleasing victory in the Pro Junior Division with a barnstorming display of surfing to notch up New Zealand’s third title.

The 2009 ISA World Kneeboard Surfing Titles have been taking place at Opunake since the 11th April and today’s action took place at Arawhata Road for the sixth day in a row.  Today the conditions were once again excellent with a new 1.5m swell hitting the Taranaki coastline with offshore winds prevailing all day.

Coleman, a standout through the event finished in style scoring 15.07 out of a possible 20 points to win the final.

“I got one early and got a good smaller wave after that” commented a quietly spoken Coleman.  “I felt both waves were good scorers so I knew I could wait for a big one at the end of the final if I needed to, in the end I didn’t even need to do that.”

Coleman got off to a great start in the final posting successive wave scores of 7.50 and 7.57 while the other three surfers only had one good scoring ride each.  The pressure told on the other surfers with two of them getting tangled up in an interference late in the heat.

“I was out the back when I got that last small one, I was last in the pecking order so went for the small one instead of waiting for a bigger set wave and it paid off because that big set came through and broke out beyond the other surfers and then they started hassling and the interference got called.  I am stoked I wasn’t part of that”.

It is Coleman’s second title after winning his first at the 2007 World Titles held at Santa Cruz, California, USA.  “Rewarding, really rewarding to win it again” said a reflective Coleman.

However, despite the amazing win today, for Coleman a third title is too far in the distance to give too much thought.  “Gee, I wasn’t even going to go for number two.  I will see how it goes, I don’t even know what is happening in my life at the moment so we will see where I am at in 2011 in regard to going for a third straight title.

Placing second in the final was Simon Farrer (Aust) who scored the finals highest scoring ride – 8.17 out of a possible 10.  Farrer was one of the two surfers caught in the interference when he and Albert Munoz took the same wave.  Farrer was forced into going for the wave in the search for a good second score to catch Coleman.  The wave in question only led to a small score for Farrer leaving him in second place.

Finishing in third place today was Baden Smith (Aust) scoring 12.27 in the final.  Smith, a double finalist chose to ride the lefthanders for much of the heat but they ultimately did not offer up the scoring potential of the rights.

Placing fourth as a result of the interference was Albert Munoz who was in the hunt for the title up until the time he interfered with Farrer.


 Derek Dunfee wins the Monster Paddle Award

The gladiators of big wave surfing took center stage in California last night for the ninth annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards.

 Regarded as the Oscars of big wave surfing, the XXL awards recognize the biggest and ugliest waves ridden over the past twelve months as judged by a global panel of 250 surf industry, former pros and big wave specialists.  Over 2000 people packed the Grove Theatre in Anaheim to witness mind-blowing rides from Chile, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, California and French Polynesia. 
Californian big wave surfer Greg Long, 26, took top honors at the gala ceremony and was handed $50,000 for winning the Ride Of The Year Category. Long’s entry came from a ride he conquered during the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event on July 26th 2008 at Dungeons, a renowned high surf location off Cape Town.


Joel Parkinson conquers the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 

Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, has claimed the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers, defeating fellow Finalist Adam Robertson (AUS), 26, trials winner and event wildcard, in pumping six-foot (2 metre) conditions at Bells Beach.

The second stop on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach enjoyed pristine conditions for the business end of competition, with capacity crowds turning up to watch the current ASP World No. 1 battle the local Victorian in a historic Final.

Today’s victory marks the second time Parkinson has hoisted the bell (the first being in 2004), and the reputation and acclaim associated with the iconic event is something every surfer dreams of.

"Winning at home is probably the most special win you can have but this is the most special trophy you can have,” Parkinson said. “There is not another trophy in surfing that holds the prestige and honor list that this has. To be back on the trophy again and to hold it for a year is going to be amazing.”

Parkinson’s win today makes it two for two thus far on the 2009 ASP World Tour ratings, cementing the stylish natural-footer’s place atop the ratings in the hunt for the ASP World Title.

“I took confidence from home and now from here I’ll take more,” Parkinson said. “People can get caught up in the whole world title race, but I always said I wanted start the year with some results – I just never thought I would start this well. There are a lot of really hungry, angry surfers that are behind me and will come out so strong in the next events. I’m just showing up to the next event with my same game plan and taking things step by step. I’ve said since the Gold Coast that the World Title is a marathon, not a sprint. There are still eight events.”

While Robertson opened up strong, it was Parkinson’s forehand flair and precision that saw the Gold Coaster net an impressive 17.40 out of a possible 20 heat total for the win.

“Robbo (Adam Robertson) and I were having a great time out there,” Parkinson said. “We were talking about what it takes to win and having a wonderful Final. I have to really pay Robbo a huge compliment because of his effort out here. For a wildcard and coming through the trials, he surfed so many heats, (I think nine) and what’s he accomplished is just so admirable.”

Robertson’s effort at the 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will go down in history, as the young natural-footer’s runner-up finish is the highest ever by a Victorian at the prestigious competition.

“I guess I just got on a roll in the heat against Bede (Durbidge) and the waves were really good and they suited me,” Robertson said. “I just had to roll with it and I am really happy with the result.”

Throughout the course of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Robertson went toe-to-toe with the world’s best surfers, eliminating Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23, Tom Whitaker (AUS), 29, Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, among others in the process. Despite not having a major sponsor, Robertson’s nine-heat effort proved to all that he’s capable of world-class surfing.