Western Australia’s most prestigious and longest running professional bodyboarding event, the EBB Pro was completed over the weekend with some of the country's best bodyboarding talent converging on the Yallingup in the south-west corner of WA for three days of pumping surf. The fifth event on the IBA Australasia Pro Tour will go down in the record books as one of its finest, as a combination of pulsing ground swells, clean offshore winds and sunny skies greeted competitors and spectators alike.
The strong 32 man field had been whittled down to the best four competitors as the semi finals took to the water early Sunday morning. Semi final one saw local hero Brad Hughes (WA) take on Joe Clarke (QLD). Immediately it was clear that mediocre waves were not going to be enough for any rider to progress in the pumping wave conditions. Both riders exchanged deep barrel rides with large back flips and inverts over the end section pushing scores into high 8.00 point plus range.
However, the last five minutes of the heat saw the Queenslander Clarke wow the crowd with an super deep barrel ride that even had some spectators turning away believing he had not made the wave. Clarke emerged from the tube with a spectacular air rollo sealing the heat in his favor and bringing huge cheers from the crowd as well as fellow competitors on the beach.
Semi final 2 saw Dave Winchester (NSW) take on Perth bodyboarder Chad Jackson (WA). Winchester lead the heat from start to finish with a full display of every move in his impressive repertoire including huge backflips, lofty inverts as well as full rotation air reverses. Jackson’s consistent and stylish riding was not enough to halt the rampaging and seemingly unstoppable Winchester, who was a clear favourite heading into the final.
With the swell peaking and conditions near perfect Clarke and Winchester took to the water for a 30 minute final to decide who would be crowned the EBB 2010 Champion. Clarke clocked up some very good early scores sneaking inside under Winchester's priority to ride really clean barrels boosting large inverts from the end section slowly making Winchesters situation harder and harder to reply.
With 10 minutes in the heat remaining and Winchester needing a 9.50 ride to overtake the excellent scores Clarke already had on the board, the man from NSW decided to embark on a bizarre and risky tactic he had used to pass through earlier heats. Just north of the main contest bank was a small patch reef which very rarely produced a huge wedge pushing into a massive air bowl. Earlier in the competition Winchester had paddled down to this reef, now affectionately known as “Winchester's Bubble” because of Dave being the first to ride it, to score an amazing 10 point ride to knock Corey McLean (QLD) from the competition.
With three minutes remaining a massive set reared up right on “Winchester's Bubble” and spectators hearts were in their mouths as it looked that history may repeat itself. However Winchester did not quite have time to drive off the bottom and properly hit the lip of the huge set wave and only managed a score of 7.5 handing the final and the 2010 title to Joe Clarke. It was an amazing display of determination, amazing talent and explosive bodyboarding by the Queenslander and both competitors and judges alike agreed that he was a deserving winner of the event.
The ‘4 star’ rated event which offered a total prize pool of $5,000 cash culminated with Clarke taking out his first ever Australian Tour win and the biggest win of his career.
“Im so stoked at the moment, it’s been a pretty slow year for me, so to have finally won an event makes the trip West all that much sweeter”, said Clarke.
Surfing Western Australia Events Manager Justin Majeks commented that the new IBA Australasia man on man format was a huge factor in producing the amazing competitive standard and explosive action seen at the event.
“People have to remember that Joe Clarke actually came in 3rd place in his first heat. In normal competition format this would have meant he was knocked out of the event. However with this new format Joe was given the opportunity to surf through 6 tough man on man heats and become the eventual winner” Said Justin.
“The standard of surfing at this Rebel Sport Australian Pro Bodyboarding Tour event was the best I have ever seen. This is a true testament to the strength of bodyboarding all around Australia and I think the sport is in an amazing place for an exciting future for the remainder of 2010 and beyond.” Said Justin.
The 2008 EBB Pro is proudly supported by Exclusively Bodyboarding, EBB Wetsuit Co, Bodyboarding Australasia, NMD Bodyboards, Stealth and Surfing Western Australia.
FINAL RESULTS: Pro Men 1st – Joe Clarke (QLD) – 17.50 pts 2nd – Dave Winchester (NSW) – 16.33 pts Equal 3rd – Brad Hughes (WA) and Chad Jackson (WA)