Shark Island contest director explains IBA competition requirements

April 14, 2009 | Bodyboarding

Shark Island 2008

This letter is to address the IBA press release sent out stating “Shark Island is no longer on the World Tour”.

I would like to thank everyone for their phone calls and emails of support. Regarding the IBA’s decision I would like to address the issue in an open manner. Firstly, it must be clearly stated that the only criteria the Cronulla Shark Island Challenge does not meet in the IBA’s guide lines is financial.

The 2009 IBA event sanctioning requirements state that all international MWT events require minimum prize-money of $20,000 USD. Unfortunately in 2009 due to the current financial climate this criteria cannot be met.

However, what we do have thanks to our sponsors Nomad Bodyboards, Emerald Surf City, Human, Limited Edition Fins, Swellnet, Riptide Bodyboard Magazine and the Sutherland Shire Council, is a prize base of $10,000.00, which I believe is the richest prize purse in Australia for 2009.

During negotiations the IBA agreed that this year’s event did not meet its criteria. I proposed that the event be sanctioned as an IBA Specialty event to allow interested IBA riders to compete and in turn tie this long standing event to the IBA MWT Calendar. It was indicated as per IBA Tour General Manager Terry McKenna’s request and direction, to pay the IBA sanctioning fee of $1,500.00 USD to ensure the event future. 

Unfortunately the proposal was rejected by the IBA riders board. The IBA Riders board terms are as follows:

Any IBA contracted rider who surfed in the 2009 Pipeline event or those who are competing in the coming Brazil events in April/May 2009 can not compete.

Any IBA contracted rider that breaks their IBA contract will serve a 12 month ban from International competition from the date of the breach and be subjected to a $500 USD fine.

Terry McKenna said of the decision “I did send several emails trying to change their mind but they were determined to stand strong with their decision.” I thank Terry for his support on this issue.

This decision affects approximately 400 of the world’s best competitive Bodyboarders.

If you are one of the 400 riders affected with by the decision, and disagree with the IBA’s decision I recommend you email IBA Tour General Manager Terry McKenna.

I have chosen to respect the IBA Riders Board decision. I will not appeal the matter.

Therefore, the current top 50 ranked IBA riders are automatically ineligible for wildcards into this years Cronulla Shark Island Challenge. Should the IBA chose to overturn its decision these riders will be eligible to enter the Brett Young Memorial trials.

However as per the IBA’s statement, this decision only affects IBA riders.

It should not affect the 1000’s of competitors involved in competing on the countless number of regional events, such as the Australian Tour or the USBA. It also does not affect the globes many amazing soul and free surfers who will relish Shark Islands challenging conditions.

The 2009 Cronulla Shark Island Challenge will now be an opportunity for the 100’s of fresh competitive riders to vie for a position in Australia’s most prestigious and lucrative event.

Furthermore, this year the Cronulla Shark Island Challenge is guaranteed of crowning a new champion. This will make for a fantastic event.

If your competitive Bodyboarding is lacking gaping cavernous tube time and you wish to compete in the 2009 Cronulla Shark Island Challenge, please send your expressions of interest.

I hope with your assistance, the event I co-created 12 years ago can continue to be the pinnacle of Bodyboarding.

A full press release detailing this years amazing event will follow in due time.

Once again I would like to thank the events sponsors Nomad Bodyboards, Emerald Surf City, Human, Swellnet, Limited Edition fins, Riptide Bodyboard Magazine and the Sutherland Shire Council.


Mark Fordham, Cronulla Shark Island Challenge Contest Director


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