ISLAND Surfboards has won the fifth Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Teams Challenge and Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy at the event held on Sunday, April 15 at Summerland Beach.
In what can only be called challenging conditions, Island won the event for the second time. The team also took out the competition back in 2015 with Sandy Ryan captaining the team for both victories.
The competition was changed from Saturday due to predicted wild weather conditions and organisers were up at dawn on Sunday morning to determine if conditions would allow the event to proceed.
Event organiser Geoff Owens made the call at 7am and surfers braved the wild and wet weather to gather on the beach for a briefing, followed by a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony from Boon wurrung Community member Steve Parker.
The gutsy grommets (surfers aged 14 and under) and Malibu riders were first to paddle through the large swell rolling off the point before the teams took to the waters based on the judges’ draw.
The less than perfect waves did not deter the highly skilled surfers with each giving it their all and making the most of every ride.
The loyal crowd, watching in rain and wind, were rewarded with an impressive display of skill, determination and a little bit of comedy.
After the first two rounds, it was decided to cut the competition short and not hold the repechage round, instead going straight to the final.
The last moments of the competition were a hilarious race to the finish line as team members did almost anything to get the points needed to qualify for a place in the messy shore break.
In the end it all came down to guts, determination, teamwork and skill. Team ‘EP’, captained by Nick Fostin took out second prize and third prize was won by ‘United Smiths’, captained by Matt Crooks. Last year’s winners ‘Archysurf’ came in fourth with ‘Newhaven Spoonbills’ in fifth and ‘Woolamai Hards’ in sixth place.
There was a wide range of prizes and awards given out at the presentation ceremony at the Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club supported by event sponsors: Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water, Phillip Island RSL, Newhaven College, Karoon Gas, Cape Kitchen, Ramada Resort, Rip Curl/Islantis, Island Surfboards, San Remo IGA and more.
Highlights of the award presentation ceremony included the Phillip Island RSL Team Spirit Award, presented to Sam Guzzardi and his Barrel of Fun team, making their first appearance at the competition.
In a terrific gesture of sportsmanship, Carl Wright gifted his Rip Curl Highest Scoring Wave Award – a Rip Curl GPS Watch – to the delighted grommet from his team, Noah Goldsbury.
“It was once again a great day,” said event organiser Geoff Owens.
“I want to thank everyone for coming and continuing to support this community surfing event held in our wonderful National Surfing Reserve.”
See you all next year!
Check out and post event photos and see updates all year round on Facebook @PhillipIslandnsr
Island brings it home