THE Surfing Teams Challenge held to celebrate the first anniversary of the declaration of the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve was a true recognition of what surfing is all about – fun, family, community and great waves.
Throughout the day, 96 competitors in 12 teams battled it out on the perfect waves under the watchful eyes of judges Pal Caninas and Craig Clark along with a large, supportive crowd.
Due to a large swell, the event was relocated from Cape Woolamai to Flynns Reef to cater for the wide range of competitor ages.
With only a handful of points between the first and fifth teams, the winners were ‘Pirates Blue,’ captained by John Mason with team members; Tanner Mason, Nick Hugisloot, Brock Jeffrey-Warren, Amber Goldsbury, Cameron Goldsbury, Dean Bould and Tony Reid.
‘Archysurf’ team came in second with ‘Island Surfboards’ in third, ‘The Wave Pinchers’ in fourth and ‘The Super 8s’ in fifth place.
There was a strong community spirit on display with teams like the ‘Seven Dwarves’ made up of local surfer Peter Chaston with seven Super Groms.
The‘Wave Pinchers’ had a team made up of several generations of surfers from the Fincher family, including surfing legend Dave Fincher who still hits the waves aged 70 plus.
“Everyone got stuck right into it,” said event coordinator and member of the National Surfing Reserves Community Working Group Geoff Owens.
“There was such a great feeling of camaraderie.
“After one year, the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve seems to have worked well and has given surfing a really high profile.”
Competitors commented on the community spirit of the event and how the tag-team format and team make-up allowed for surfers of all ages and styles to have a go.
As well as the cash prizes, over $3000 worth of prizes was donated by local businesses.
Surfer Glyndon Ringrose summed up the event stating it was a great day and brought a lot of people together to surf and the community came and watched too.
“The Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve is a great idea to look after our environment and to care for the places where we love to go and surf,” he said.
“The beaches are a very special part of my life and should be preserved.”
It is hoped the Surf Teams Challenge will become a regular event.
Information and ongoing updates about the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve can be found on Facebook: ‘Phillip Island NSR’.