Above: Shaun Pyne on the wave of the day. Photo: Chucky.
After the chaos that unfolded during Monday’s recording breaking conditions, everyone was on edge to see what the morning would bring for day one of the 2016 Shark Island Challenge.
Expectations were high, and as the sun rose the small crowd that had already formed breathed a sigh of relief as it was apparent the swell had backed off just enough to make it contestable, but still on track to produce some waves in the 8 – 10ft range to rival the conditions of the infamous 2001 contest.
The contest format is two rounds consisting of five, 50 minute, five man heats run over two days, with the final to be contested by the four riders with the best 3 scores over the 2 rounds.
The first heat hit the water with Ben Player and Matt Young taking on locals Ben Hall, Ben Williams and Luke O’Connor.
Luke O’Connor invert for a 6.83
Luke O’Connor took out the highest wave of the heat with a nice invert for a 6.83 but could only manage a 3 as his next best, leaving him with a bit of work to do in Round two. Ben Hall had a 6.73 and 6.33 using his local knowledge to post 2 solid scores setting him up nicely for tomorrow, while Ben Player had a 5.83 and 5.33 to put 2 mid range scores in the bank. Matt Young posted a 6 and Ben Williams managed a 4.83.
Lachlan Cramsie negotiating the step.
Heat two was an absolutely stacked heat and saw the solid conditions continue with APB Tour head honcho Alex leon going up against season veteran Nick Ormerod, Sunshine Coast competition machine Lachlan Cramsie, 2013 winner Josh ‘Blackie’ Kaihe and crowd favourite Garth McGregor. Wave of the heat went to Lachlan Cramsie with a 7.33 and he also banked a 6.33 to put him in a strong position, while Alex Leon grabbed himself a 6.4 and 5. Nick Ormerod caught a total of 9 waves and managed to put away a 6.17 and 5.5 setting himself up nicely for Wednesdays action, and Garth McGregor isn’t out of it at all despite posting a moderate 4.97 and 4.5. Previous winner Josh could only manage a 2.93 and 2.83.
Winston McCall on a foamy one.
The waves continued to pump into heat 3, with Jack Baker throwing down the gauntlet with a huge 9.5 and 7 giving him an early favourite tag, but Shaun Petersen made sure he stayed in touch with a 7.5 and 6.57. 2001 winner Damian King was looking to return to the comp scene with a bang and is in the game with a 6.17 and 5.73 with Kane Baker and Parkway Drive front man Winston McCall, who’s father Chaz was one of the first to surf the Island, rounded out the heat with a 5.33 and 6.33 respectively, giving them a fighting chance going into tomorrows action.
Shaun Pyne on the wave of the day with a 10.
Heat 4 was arguably the heat of the day with Shaun Pyne scoring the wave of the day and with it the first 10 point ride on an absolute bomb which spat twice and he managed to back that up with a 6.73 putting him well in contention for a finals place. Jase Finlay showed everyone that his slab game is as good as anyones with an 8.33 and a 7, edging ahead of a solid Mitch Rawlins (6.47 and 5.67), a frenetic Toby Player (5.07 and 3.47) and local legend Nathan Purcell (4.4 and 3.5) who all found some solid waves. Toby Player took off on an incredible 11 waves and had he managed to stick a couple of the bombs could have well seen himself with something in the top end of the scale.
Michael Novy setting up for a 7.33
The final heat of the day saw West Oz hope George Humphreys take a late exit on a bomb and go over the falls but still manage to shake himself off and post a 6.83 and a back up 3.07, while Michael Novy continued his winning ABA Tour form and posted a 7.33 and back up 5.83 to be well in the mix. Another Local legend Christian “Rissole” Rigucinni wound back the clock posting a solid 5.57 and 4.33 while Sam Strachan and Reece Fowler struggled to find their rhythm, posting best scores of 3.83 and 2.83 respectively.
Going into the final day it’s still wide open and anything can happen, though Shuan Pyne and Jack Baker have one hand on a finals position with Michael Novy, Lachlan Cramsie, Shaun Petersen and Jase Finlay all looking strong.
Can’t wait for the action to return tomorrow for the final day of the OpenLIVE 2016 Shark Island Challenge!
Watch a replay of day one below: