SURFING Victoria made history last weekend with the first wave-pool event in Australia – the 2020 Melbourne Pool Party presented by URBNSURF.
And Phillip Island was well represented with local surfers making it through to the finals, both men and women.
Bringing together more than 60 of Victoria’s best surfers, the event was held at the newly opened UBRNSURF Wave Park and showcased the depth of Victorian surfing with divisions in Shortboard, Longboard and Bodyboard.
Due to the emerging issues around COVID-19, the event was unfortunately held with no spectators and essential staff and competitors only.
Exhibiting an innovative format that mimics a snowboard style leader board, surfers were given multiple rides on each side of the pool in a test of overall surfing ability.
Coming down to the final two waves of the men’s final, the Surf Coast’s Tully Wylie and Xavier Huxtable were in a duel to become the first wave pool event champions.
Needing a 5.40 on his final wave, all the pressure was on Wylie to get the score and leapfrog Huxtable into the lead. With a big turn followed by a short barrel and finishing manoeuvre, Wylie was able to claim a 6.17 and the lead.
Huxtable had one more wave to better his previous ride (an 8.97) however fell short.
“That was so nerve-wracking” said a jubilant Wylie.
“That’s what is so good about this format though. It puts pressure on you to perform and its super exciting to watch as a spectator.”
Other finalists in the Men’s division included Harry Mann (Torquay), Joe van Dijk (Phillip Island), Codie Jeffery (Phillip Island) and Todd Rosewall (Jan Juc).
Fellow Surf Coaster India Robinson was the standout performer in the Women’s division. After returning the night before from competing on the World Qualifying Series, Robinson was in electric form and showed why she is one to watch in 2020.
Making her return from retirement, Georgia Fish (Flinders) showed that she can still match it with the best finishing in 2nd place behind Robinson.
However, it was Robinson in the end that threw down some of the biggest turns of the event on the right hander.
“This was such a sick event. It was amazing to be a part of” said Robinson.
“The waves are so fun at URBNSURF, everything from turns to tubes. I’m looking forward to competing here again!”
Sage Goldsbury (Phillip Island), finished in third place with Ellie Harrison (Barwon Heads) in fourth. Mia Huppatz (Jan Juc) and Bella Wilson (Jan Juc) rounded out the final in fifth and sixth place respectively.
The other divisions saw Australian Champion Longboarder, Ben Considine (Barwon Heads) take top honours. His combination of stylish surfing and footwork put him ahead of the powerful Will Cousins (Torquay).
Angela King (Torquay) was impressive in the Open Women Longboard, mixing traditional and performance longboarding with ease to come out on top. Eglantine Balland (Carrum) finished in second place behind King.
Guy Drerup (Mornington Peninsula) was in top form in the Men’s Bodyboard taking out the division with some deep tubes. He was closely followed by former Australian Champion Justin Kirkpatrick (Jan Juc).
The Women’s Bodyboard saw Melissa Fitzwilliam (Mornington Peninsula) take the win ahead of Sally Wells.
Laurie Hamshere and Isla Huppatz took home biggest manoeuvres in the Expression Session and saw them claim a voucher for an hour session at URBNSURF.
Full results can be found on surfingvic.com.
Even surfing is impacted by coronavirus bans