Surfers go back-to-back at Lake Mac
Redhead Boardriders surfer and Lake Mac over-35 2016 champion Justin Lee in action. Photo credit: Surfest Media
Heavy surf and a change in location failed to distract two surfing champions from defending their crowns in the opening event of Surfest for 2016.
The Lake Mac Festival of Surfing kicked off the Surfest schedule for the second consecutive year with two days of intense competition over the weekend.
Challenging conditions forced a last-minute relocation from Redhead Beach to the more protected southern corner of Catherine Hill Bay beach on Saturday morning, where the opening rounds of the short board masters, longboards and stand-up paddleboards were contested among 1-2m waves.
But while the venue was different, there were plenty of familiar faces among the surfers making waves in the finals on Sunday.
Redhead boardrider Justin Lee dominated early in the short board masters and looked the goods to repeat his form of 2015, when he was crowned the over-40 and over-35 champion.
But poor positioning in the over-40 final left him languishing in 4th spot, with the division instead taken out by Bryden Galbraith.
A change of tactics in the over-35s helped him make amends though, with a couple of excellent point rides allowing Lee to close out his opposition and claim first place.
Meanwhile, Terrigal’s Harry Maskell notched one up for the younger surfers in the competition, with the 17-year-old dominating the open stand-up paddleboard division to retain his 2015 title without dropping a single heat over the two days of competition.
“I’m stoked the organisers moved it to Catho,” he said.
“The surf today was amazing. There was solid sets out there but the sand banks are there as well so it was fun.”
Maskell also demonstrated his versatility after coming a close second in the open longboard final, with Shane Baker from Caves Beach wrapping up that title on a series of big, clean waves.
The longboard over-40 event was taken out by Jeremy Smith, while Tony Rae bettered his second place finish in that division by claiming the title in the longboard over-50s.
Over-40s and over-50s divisions were also contested in the stand-up paddleboard class, with Andrew Cassidy and David Stretton respectively claiming those crowns.
The final event of the weekend – the inaugural Lake Mac surfboard club team challenge – offered more than just bragging rights for the contestants, with the winning team also earning a wildcard entry into the Surfest Orica Team Challenge.
While past Orica champions Frenchman’s Boardriders were the favourites to walk away with the win, Redhead Boardriders proved too strong for the competition with a dominant and consistent display by both their impressive stable of junior talent and more experienced surfers.
Redhead will now look to carry that form into the Orica event, which will be held at Stockton Beach from February 12-14.
Short board masters over-35
1st: Justin Lee
2nd: Dale Thomas
3rd: Bryden Galbraith
4th: Luke Bartlett
Short board masters over-40
1st: Bryden Galbraith
2nd: Simon Hasson
3rd: Paul Snow
4th: Justin Lee
1st: Shane Baker
2nd: Harry Maskell
3rd: Matt Rawson
4th: Dean Wilson
1st: Jeremy Smith
2nd: Tony Rae
3rd: Matt Rawson
4th: Shane Ross
1st: Tony Rae
2nd: Mike Pimm
3rd: Michael Howe
Stand-up paddleboard open
1st: Harry Maskell
2nd: Glen Turner
3rd: Andrew Cassidy
4th: Blair Moore
Stand-up paddleboard over-40
1st: Andrew Cassidy
2nd: Jeremy Smith
3rd: Matt Rawson
4th: Gareth Grant
Stand-up paddleboard over-50
1st: David Stretton
2nd: Hugo Simpson
3rd: Harry Goldstein
Lake Mac Board Club Team Challenge
1st: Redhead Boardriders