Competitors began the day in challenging conditions at Cape Woolamai. Z02_1422

First round competitors experience the tag team format for the 2022 NSR team challenge. z01_1422

THE Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve held its seventh annual surfing teams challenge on Saturday, April 2, at Cape Woolamai – with the Island taking the win achieving the highest points scored in the history of the event, leading with 102 points.

Beginning the day with moderate south, south-east winds sitting at around three to four foot, the Phillip Island Nature Parks and Phillip Island Boardriders kicked off at 7.30am with final registrations, Welcome to Country and round one beginning in the water at 9.10am – running for 108 minutes.

Each team consisted of nine members, including Supergroms (14 years and under), open men, twin-fin surfer, longboard, open (over 50 years) junior (21 and under), open women, single-fin (pre-1985) and kneeboard (or 40-plus shortboard).

Competing in a tag team format, each surfer in red, white, yellow or blue awaited their teammate to head in; a contestant team format showcased different styles and ages, allowing everyone to take part.

The first National Surfing Reserve surfing teams challenge was held in 2014 and this community event has become a favourite on Phillip Island’s surfing calendar. It’s an event achieved by extraordinary community effort.

Island winners for the 2022 NSR team challenge included nine-year-old Scarlett Rennie, Rye Cicero, Blake Green, Harry de Roth, Tim Van Brummellen, Sandy Ryan, Andrew Lidsey (Bunny) – longboard, Simon McShane and Peter Hollins.

The team, captained by Sandy Ryan, were presented with the Dave Fincher memorial trophy by Geoff Owens of the NSR, after they battled out a friendly but fierce competition.

“I’d like to dedicate this to Dave Fincher – one of my heroes, I have the greatest respect for him,” said Sandy.

Archysurf, captained by Luke Archibald, won second place with the 2019 champions, Team Crushers, following in third – all putting on an amazing display of skill and camaraderie as each team supported their members and all competitors.

In fourth place was Newhaven College’s Spoonbills captained by Andy Neal and new teams Wareeny Murrups (Ocean Spirit) and MidLife coming in fifth and sixth place respectively.

“We were incredibly humbled by the support of all sponsors and acknowledge recent years have been tough for everyone, but their unwavering support demonstrates the importance that the community puts on this team event,” said Geoff Owens.

Event sponsors included Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council, Westernport Water, Phillip Island RSL, Newhaven College, The Cape Kitchen, Full Circle, Ramada Resort by Wyndham, Rip Curl Phillip Island, Full Circle, Island Surfboards, San Remo IGA and Print It Fast.

Many local businesses also provided goods for the raffle and a percentage of proceeds will support Lifeline Gippsland.

Highlights of the award ceremony included the Phillip Island RSL Team Spirit Award of a $500 meal voucher, presented to McHenry Motors, and young Scarlett Rennie not only securing best contributor on her winning Island team, but also taking out the Ramada Resort by Wyndham for outstanding performance by a female surfer.

Outstanding performance by a male surfer also sponsored by Ramada was won by Harry de Roth of Island.

In another double whammy, Blake Green from Island won both a Local Clothing prize pack and Phillip Island Nature Parks four parks pass for best junior and a surf watch for the Rip Curl highest scoring wave.

“It was once again a great day – making history, celebrating team spirit, showcasing quality surfing and encouraging the next generation of surfers – exactly what Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve is all about,” said Geoff.