Rip Curl MP Classic 

The Rip Curl MP Classic presented by Air Asia X will again this year be held in reverence to Queensland icon and undisputed ‘King of Kirra’ Michael “MP” Peterson this weekend (January 31-February 1).

The event will run for its eighth consecutive year and has grown to be the most prestigious regional event in Queensland.

For the first time since the event’s conception in February 2002, the MP Classic is part of the Queensland Championship Circuit (QCC). The MP Classic is the second event of a total of five on the QCC and is the highest rated competition.

Shaun Gossman (Burleigh Heads, QLD) who won the MP Classic for three consecutive years (2003, 2004 and 2005) has his sights set on another title. . Gossman recently claimed first place in event number one of the QCC at Currumbin Alley (QLD) and is keen to clinch the Queensland Championship trophy.

The full list of competitors is yet to be confirmed, but those who have already put their name down include Rip Curl’s 2008 ASP Australasia Pro Junior Champion Stuart Kennedy, former World Tour surfer Nathan Hedge and Rip Curl freesurfer Dean Brady.

“It’s an honour to be competing in an event that’s held in tribute of such an awesome competitor like MP (Michael Peterson). In his time MP was one of the world’s best surfers, he’s become a piece of surfing history,” commented Kennedy.

“The MP Classic is a big event in Queensland and is widely respected amongst the surfing community. It’d be pretty cool to see one of us younger guys win it!” said Kennedy.


Kirra Surfriders

The Kirra Surfriders Club (KSC) in conjunction with the Kirra Surf Club are hosting a Public Paddle Out on Australia Day 09 at Kirra (Monday 26th of January) to mark the loss of Kirra Point regarded as one of the best Point Breaks in the World.

The Australia Day Paddle Out will meet at 10am QLD time and paddle off Kirra Point to shape the map of Australia which will be seen visibly from on top of the Kirra Hill.

In 2001 the Tweed Sand By-Pass system was established by NSW and QLD State Governments, a unique joint agreement to replenish sand onto Gold Coast beaches that were robbed of natural sand flow due to the NSW Tweed training walls of the Tweed River and to dredge the entrance of the Tweed River for a safe boating passage. Initially the sand pumping was hailed as a success with the evolution of the Super Bank at Snapper Rocks creating a whole new sandbar from Snapper through to Coolangatta with up to 800 metre rides.

The only problem was that over the last 6 years, 10 million cubic metres valued over $60,000 million dollars was pumped into Coolangatta which was the death knoll of Kirra Point and has not broken properly since 2001.The last pro event held at Kirra was the Brothers Neilsen Pro Junior in 2002 won by Luke Munro from Bede Durbidge.

Interestingly Kirra Point still holds the highest competitive score in ASP World history when Shane Beschen of California scored three perfect 10’s (30 out of 30) at the Billabong Pro in 1996, a surfing statistic that will never be broken now that the judging format is based on the best of two scores than 3. The eventual winner of the 96 Billabong Pro was Hawaii’s Kaipo Jaquias who named his newly born daughter Kirra.

Apart from Kirra Point losing it’s famous barreling double keg section and the deepest tube rides on the Gold Coast, the reefs that created the Kirra Point wave namely the inside reef Butterbox and the Miles Street Outside reef were also buried with an over supply of sand completely wrecking the marine habitat once popular with divers and fisherman.

Currently the sand flow has moved slowly from Coolangatta Bay and into Kirra Beach which resembles a deserted oasis and a 400 metre walk to the waters edge. After 6 years of sand pumping only 1/8 of the volume has moved north along Gold Coast beaches with the majority of sand volume lodged at Coolangatta  and more so at Kirra and especially North Kirra. It’s the biggest pile-up of sand ever seen from Kirra to North Kirra, yet the sand continues to pump from the main outlet at Lovers Rock, Point Danger.

The idea behind the Australia Day Paddle Out is to demonstrate that the community at large care about their public amenity and will endeavor to convince the State Governments and Local Council Authorities that something needs to be done.

Ironically both State Governments are facing the polls this year and the Kirra Point situation is now developing into a red hot political State election issue. At the core of that matter is the 25 year contract between NSW and QLD to continue pumping irregardless of future damage to the surf and reefs although the latest word is that the NSW Department of Lands are privately conceding that too much sand has been pumped and are trying to assess the operation with possible changes for the future, yet the Sand Contractor continues to pump sand into Snapper, Coolangatta and Kirra.

There are many options being considered  to seek out solutions namely selective pumping, dredging the unwanted sand, sand sculpturing the beach and restoring dunes to allow the sand to flow, alternative sand pumping outlets and adjusting the volumes of sand so as not to repeat the current over supply of sand.

International Surfrider has just won a major battle in California to stop development of Trestles, one of the last bastions of undeveloped California coastlines and also a venue for the ASP World Tour event, the Boost Mobile Pro.

President of the Kirra Surfriders club Stuart Ball welcomes the public to attend the Paddle Out for Kirra Point on Australia Day.

“We are very concerned to lose our local break and to see the public amenity reduced to a desert and the marine reefs wiped out. As a board riding club which helps foster junior development, we have lost one of the best training grounds and we would like to see this quintessential bank returned for the future. The Paddle Out normally reserved for the loss of life and tragedy’s is our way of getting everyone together to demonstrate in a positive and passive way the loss of one of the best breaks in the World. Enough is enough, we’re homesick for Kirra and we want our break back!”

During the 60’s, it was the training ground for Peter Drouyn, Keith Paul and the Deane Bros, in the 70’s it was Michael Peterson, PT and Rabbit Bartholomew, in the 80’s Joe Engel, Glen Rawlings, Munga Barry and in the Nineties, Coolangatta’s Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning and Dean Morrison known as the Cooly Kids competed there as Pro Juniors. Parko is very passionate about the loss of Kirra Point rated 4th on the ASP World rankings and 2008 Hawaiian Triple Crown champion, Joel would love to see Kirra Point back in action.

“I am really upset about the loss of Kirra Point and would dearly love to see it restored in all its glory. Dean (Morrison), Mick (Fanning) and I were fortunate to surf and compete there as junior’s through-out the 90’s, today’s kids have really missed out and as a Father, I would like to see Kirra Point restored for future generations.”

Event coordinator of the Australia Day 09 Paddle Out at Kirra Andrew McKinnon had his first surfing lesson at Kirra in 1962 with the late Billy Rack and believes that we can bring back Kirra Point but it won’t happen overnight.

“Surely with all the existing infracture in place and some creative engineering on the Southern Points from Snapper to Kirra, We could have the best of both worlds with good sandbanks for waves and enough sand for the beachgoer. The over supply of sand has been a blatant waste of taxpayers money and the loss of public amenity is gut wrenching,  the problem needs urgent attention by both NSW & QLD State Governments working in with Tweed and Gold Coast Councils to fine tune the operation. Right now there is so much sand at Kirra Beach not even a tsunami could move it!”

At the Australia Day Paddle Out rally, a group of concerned locals will address the crowd including Marine Biologists Bob Moffatt and Neal Lazarow, Surfing Legends Michael Peterson, Wayne Deane and John Standing. State and local politicians will be present to speak including Ian Cohen MP Green from NSW, QLD member of Currumbin Jann Stuckey, State Candidate for Currumbin Michael Riordan and Southern Gold Coast Councilor Chris Robbins and Tweed Shire Greens Councilor. Local Gold Coast Band, Quiet Excitement will perform the National Anthem and also play their popular hit single, “Let Kirra be Kirra.”

National Surfrider Foundation and its Tweed/Gold Coast chapter are totally behind the Australia Day Paddle Out. Recently the International Surfrider Foundation won a major battle to save Trestles in California, the venue of the ASP WCT event the Boost Mobile Pro from a major development. Trestles is one of the last bastions of coastal land in California which has been saved thanks to the efforts of the local community and the Surfrider Foundation.

Supporting the Australia Day 09 Paddle Out at Kirra includes Surfing Professionals such as current 2 times ASP Womens World Champ Stephanie Gilmore, No 2 in the ASP World Mens Tour Bede Durbidge, No 4  Joel Parkinson, 2007 World Champ Mick Fanning and 1999 World Champ Mark “Occy” Occhilupo.

Owen Wright 

Australian surfer Owen Wright (Lennox Head, NSW) has began the 2009 ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series in perfect style, taking out the season-opening Hurley Burleigh Pro Junior in tricky 2-3ft (0.5-0.8m) point break waves on the Gold Coast today.

On a day when Australians celebrate our great country, Wright made certain an Aussie lifted the prestigious junior crown, recording a two-wave combined total of 18.50 (out of a possible 20) to outclass Brazilian Miguel Pupo in an exciting, man-on-man final.

A thrilled Wright said winning his first Burleigh crown was made extra special by the Australia Day festivities.

“I dug deep and did Australia proud,” said Wright.

“My friends and family were all on the hill supporting me, so I felt like I was due for a win. I think I did myself proud as well.”

Burleigh Heads yet again provided the ideal forum for the final day of competition, with a mass of people lining the point as the world’s hottest 20-years and under surfers went head-to-head in search of junior series glory.

Wright, 19, lived up to his reputation as one of the brightest young surfing prospects in the world, blasting past defending event champion and no.2 seed Tamaroa McComb (Central Coast) in the quarters, U/18 World Junior champion Alejo Muniz (Brazil) in the semis before dispatching of Pupo in the championship final. "

The lanky goofy foot, who has only recently relocated from Culburra on the New South Wales South Coast to the right had point break of Lennox Head, proved unstoppable in the extended 30-miunte final, flexing his superior competition repertoire to setup victory with a pair of 9.25’s.

Despite Pupo hitting back with an 8.90 late in the exchange, Wright held on for a decisive victory.

Final scores: Wright (18.50) def Pupo (14.90).

Wright said he was pleased to snare victory from the international contingent after his disappointing world juniors’ campaign earlier this month in Narrabeen.

“I’m stoked to bag a win after getting knocked out by an international surfer at the world juniors,” he said.

“They’ve really been serving it up to us over the last few events, so to get one over them is awesome. I guess I just peaked at the right time.”