Who’s gonna win the first stop of the 2015 ABA Aussie Tour?
We’re less than 24 hours from the kick off of the Good Earth Mandurah Pro tomorrow and we’re pretty jazzed to see first-class competitive bodyboarding resume in Oz in 2015. Not to mention the wedge has been firing lately, which only adds to the intrigue to the start of this year’s Aussie Tour. We’ve touched base with the ABA to get the draw and got the hot tip on the forecast from someone who’s kinda familiar with the wave so have a read and then throw in your two cents about who you reckon might take out the Good Earth Mandurah Pro.
Above: The Pro Men’s Draft Draw (subject to changes).
THE FAVOURITES: In the understatement of the year – WA holy trinity George Humphreys, Lewy Finnegan and Davis Blackwell will be the three to beat this weekend. The trio have built their reps (in part) wth huge technical punts at Mandurah, nailing tonnes of mag and video coverage in the process. Davis is one to watch in particular, having won the most recent Aussie Tour contest (the 2014 season-ending Mystics Pro). There’s a good chance one of these guys will be standing on the podium on Sunday (or perhaps all three?).
BIGWIGS: Like we saw in the ABA’s inaugural tour last year, 2015’s Aussie Tour is already attracting some of Oz’s biggest names. Western Australian legends Ryan Hardy and Chad Jackson will be holding it down for the home state, while Dave Winchester, Joe Clarke and Lachlan Cramsie (the 2014 tour’s number two and three respectively), Tom Rigby and Cade Sharp will all be major threats. We just got late confirmation that the reigning Aussie Tour Champ and 2014 Mandurah Pro winner Jake Stone is competing so expect him to be right up there too.
WA HEAVIES: Other than Hardballs and Chaddy J, there are plenty of homegrown WA talents that could push for the Mandurah Pro crown. Ben Veitch is one of WA’s best and could easily cause some upsets, while Kyle Ward has been on the improve, taking out the Open Men’s div of the opening round of WA’s State Titles. Young gun Jake Metcalfe is in solid form, having taken out first place in Mandurah Bodyboard Club’s first event of the year, while Callum Jye Layton could produce fireworks – he recently did one of, if not the biggest punt ever seen at the place (you’ll get a squiz at that soon).
DARK HORSES: It’s a bit strange calling a National Title winner (2012) a smokey, but South Australia’s Marshall Watson certainly has the potential to cause an upset. Not blessed with the same profile as his East Coast counterparts, Marsh has still managed to consistently produce the goods in Aussie Tour comps, winning the Knights Beach Pro in 2013 and finishing the ABA Tour in sixth spot last year. Another who perhaps slips under the radar is South Coast NSW’s Ryan Sewell, who we didn’t see in an ABA jersey last year. Sewelly is one of the best from the talent-drenched South Coast, despite not having a massive profile just yet. Could he change that with a Mandurah Pro win?
Above: This is how the wedge was looking a few weeks ago for Mandurah Bodyboard Club’s first meet of the year. Pic: Julian Polglase
YOUTH: Last year saw a bunch of grommets impress on Aussie Tour comps – Newy’s Jesse Landrigan and the Sunny Coast’s Josh Keenan, for example. Coule Keenan; one of WA’s young guns like Daniel Steel, Blake Gerrard or Lee Wilson; or Kingscliff’s Theo Hinchliffe make an impact?
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOUR: A couple of relative unknowns in Australia, but interesting to note nontheless – Sophian Manik of the Maldives and Mexican youngster Pablo Linares Monje are both on the heat draw for tomorrow. It’s anyone’s guess how they’ll perform this weekend, but Riptide wishes both fellas good luck!
THE FORECAST: We touched base with Lewy Finnegan about an hour ago to get the forecast, and the starlet was just about to paddle out for a warm-up sesh at the wedge (which is apparently looking a clean and fun two-to-three-foot rn). Here’s what he had to say (and note the use of the word, “carnage” – we likey): “Saturday will be strong sideshore – a bit messy – but still a pretty good size, maybe three-to-four foot). It’s OK when it’s sideshore, but it can be a bit bumpy. Still fine though – better than a northerly. Overnight on Saturday there’s a new swell with a big period, which means Sunday there should be hell bigger, longer lines and it’ll make it a lot heavier. There should be a lot of carnage going on [giggles]. So yeah, Sunday will be a lot bigger, but Saturday might be the better day despite it being windy… it’s hard to say though. It’ll definitely be contestable, for sure, and there’ll definitely be waves, which is good!”
GET DOWN THERE: Competition is hoping to begin around 7.30-8am tomorrow morning and the comp runs until Sunday afternoon. The Mandurah Pro also has a Pro Junior division this year, and has planned Women’s and Dropknee divs, but we’re awaiting news of numbers/a heat draw. If you’re looking for added incentive to get down and watch (if seeing all the bigwigs in Mandurah “carnage” wasn’t enough), Ryan Hardy’s conducting FREE coaching clinics in between his comp responsibilities (check out our Facebook page for details). Toastface Grillah will be on hand bringing some delicious culinary delights and the surf club cafe will be open for coffee too. And if you’re looking to celebrate and/or kick on after competition wraps up on Sunday, Pitz Bodyboard Culture will be opening its doors for a premiere of Home Brew 2 and drinks – check their Facebook page for details. Get involved!
WHO DO YOU THINK’S GOING TO WIN THE MANDURAH PRO?