Adam Melling

Adam Melling (Lennox Head/NSW) signalled his intentions loud and clear for the 2009 season by taking a huge win at the Rip Curl MP Classic held in excellent 1.5m (5ft) barrelling high performance surf at Coolangatta Beach today.

Melling was rated 35 on the ASP World Series last year and was always in contention to qualify for the elite ASP World Tour but didn’t quite finish the season off in Hawaii. This year he wants to erase the disappointments of last year and today’s winning start to his competitive year indicates he’ll be a serious contender.

“I haven’t competed for a few months since returning from Hawaii in 2008 and I was really looking forward to dusting off the cobwebs and getting back competitively here and that’s how it has panned out – I couldn’t be happier right now, my boards are great, fitness and injuries all good and to win in such excellent surf in this event is super great – It’s a special event named after an extraordinary surfer.”

Regardless of today’s win, Melling is focused on the big picture for the season and added “ This year is all about a top 10 finish on the ASP World Series and qualifying for the elite World Tour – I was devastated to get close last year and not get there so I’m really focused for this season to give it my absolute best.”

Melling’s final two wave scores today were a 9.4 and an excellent 8.5 to easily take the final on a total of 17.9 with Gold Coast surfer Ice Pierera – Ryan (Coolangatta) coming in second on a scoreline of 15.8.

NSW surfers Matt Wilkinson (Central Coast) placed 3rd on 14.5 and Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head) placed 4th on 13.6.

Michael Peterson, accompanied by his mother, sat in the judging tower to watch all the days action. Peterson commented on the surfing and  surf, in reference to the sand pumping saying “It was fantastic to watch all these surfers performing so well – they were all ripping out there – The waves were good but definitely not as good as they should be or as good as I remember surfing them… There’s poor sand build up out there and the waves have chunky sections.. it’s not as perfect as it used to be – it should be barrelling all the way through to Kirra and further.” 

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Ryan Hipwood 

Two months remain in the yearlong period for the Ninth Annual Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards and a swag of Australia’s top riders are well in contention.

The $USD 130,000 Billabong XXL Awards are the Oscars of big wave riding, with eligibility open to big wave surfers at every break around the globe during the one-year contest window.

The event closes at the end of the Northern Hemisphere winter on March 20, followed by the award ceremony in California on April 17, where the gladiators of big wave riding meet. 

West Australian Damien “Taco” Warr is among a host of Aussie daredevils leading the way for XXL contention after tackling a monster ride at a secret offshore location on the West Australian coast.  Warr’s ride, currently entered in the $USD 15,000 Biggest Wave Category, is over 50ft (15m) tall on the face, similar to a five story building, and was tackled in April of 2008.

“The conditions were perfect that day, the wind was light offshore, the sun was out and it was the first swell of the year so there was no one else around,” said Warr.  “I remember going across the ocean heading out to the reef, which is about 3km off shore and from side on we were watching these monstrous waves breaking top to bottom.”

“I jumped straight off the ski when we got out there and as we were making our way out to the take off zone, a series of sets came through. We let the first set pass and the second one was just absolutely huge,” he said.  “It was the biggest wave I had ridden by far and at the time I didn’t realise just how big it was because I hadn’t surfed out there for a year and a half.”

“You are so focused on what is going on at the time that everything around you is a bit of a mind blank you are just so intent on making the wave and making sure it doesn’t land on your head.”

“I would hate to think what a lip like that landing on you would do to your body.”

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Surfing Australia

Surfing Australia, the peak body for the sport of surfing in Australia, today announced the appointment of Andrew Stark as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Andrew Stark comes to this role from his similar position as CEO of Surfing Queensland, a position he has held for the past eight years.

Norm Innes, Chairman of Surfing Australia, today said, “ The Board is very pleased to welcome Andrew to Surfing Australia. Andrew has “runs on the board” in Event Management, Education Development and Sport Administration and we look forward to him bringing his skills to the challenges of the national organization”

Andrew Stark commented on today’s appointment by saying, “I am extremely excited about the challenge that lies ahead. Surfing Australia and ASP Australasia have enormous opportunity for growth and development and I look forward to taking the sport to new heights in the region. “

Brodie Carr, CEO of ASP International feels that Andrew will be a great asset to Surfing Australia in it’s role as service provider for ASP Australasia.

“Andrew’s credibility, energy and proven track record will be critical in ensuring the viability of ASP in this region, particularly as we go forward in difficult economic times” commented Carr.

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