Cunningham conquers the Agnes Water Longboard Festival

July 26, 2008 | Surfing

Agnes Water Longboard Festival

The Discovery Coast has planted itself on the surfing map with the inaugural Agnes Water Longboard Festival wrapping up at Agnes Water today.

Queensland’s forgotten wave haven continued to dish up highly contestable conditions with a swag of the region’s hottest talents carving and shredding their way through clean 2-3ft beach break waves on the final day of competition.

Bundaberg’s George Cunningham stamped himself as a future longboard star, trumping fellow Bundanite Ashley O’Neal, Tannum Sands Clinton Farlow and his twin brother Ed to bag the blue ribbon open men’s title in a low-scoring final.

Growing in confidence from his opening heat, 14-year-old Cunningham defied the afternoon's high tide conditions, netting a 6.50 and a 4.17 to finish on top with a 10.67 two-wave combination.

“I’m happy to come away with a win,” said Cunningham, who has been selected in the Queensland Longboard Team to contest the Australian Longboard Titles in Port Macquarie in August.

“A lot of the time you have to travel to either the Gold or Sunshine Coasts to compete in a professional event, so it’s great to be able to compete in an event in the Central Queensland region. I’m also stocked to bag a win before the Aussie titles – It’s a great confidence booster.”

O’Neal finishing runner-up on 10.50-points, leaving Farlow and Ed Cunningham in third and fourth respectively.

The action was just as hot in the U/18 boys' final with Ed Cunnngham turning the tables on his brother George.

In a final brimming with talent, Ed recorded a 17.33 total to beat George, Tannum Sands Clinton Farlow and Robert Farrell (Yeppoon).

The seasoned masters of the Discovery Coast surfing scene battled it out for supremacy in the O/35 men’s final, raising the high performance bar set for the division. At the final buzzer, it was Yeppoon super-coach Pat Eastwood who came away with the win, overpowering Bargara’s Bill Rehbein, Bundaberg's Dean Burgess and Tannum Sands Peter Farlow.

Local surfer Paul Milroy showed that he could still mix it with the best of them, out surfing Vlad Golar (Agnes Water), Graeme Jenkin (Bargara) and Ian Grosamann (Bargara) to snare the O/50 men’s title. 

For the girls, it was surfing gidget Tahlee Taylor (Bundaberg) who notched a win in the blue ribbon open women’s division, whilst Sarah Whan (Bargara) scored a win in the U/18 girls.  Bargara’s Michelle Moller was victorious in the O/35 women’s division.

The latest aquatic craze, stand up paddle surfing, also got a run today.

Stand up paddle surfing dates back to the 1930's where the original Hawaiian Beachboys used to surf in Waikiki, Hawaii using canoe paddles to power themselves into waves. The sport later died out with the introduction of the shorter lighter boards, but has recently grown beyond its Waikiki roots to become an established sport.

Sunshine Coast surfer Ashley Caldow (Caloundra) was in a league of his own in the division, unleashing a skillful showing of the revived Hawaiian surfing style to come up trumps against David King (Burleigh), Pat Eastwood (Yeppoon) and Damon Bailey (Bargara).

The festival culminated with a team’s competition between the three northern region clubs (Tide N Turn, Pacifique and Sea Q).

Yeppoon’s Sea Q claimed kudos as the northern region’s best club, outscoring their rivals across the 40-minute teams format.

However, the foundational event was not all about fierce competition.

The longboard festival was designed to be a really social affair and was a perfect event for Discovery Coast locals to have their first crack at competition surfing.