D’BAH YOUNG GUNS UPSTAGE QUEENSLAND’S BEST BOARDRIDERS CLUBS
The Jim Beam Surftag Australian Series travels across the boarder this weekend with a high-class field of professional surfers expected to turn out for the QLD Regional Titles at Durandah (D-Bah) Beach.
From Noosa in the north to LeBa (Lennox Head & Balina) in the south, 21 teams have registered for the event and with eight Australian Championship positions up for grabs, competition is set to be a fiery bout with local competitors renowned for wearing their passion on their sleeves.
In 11 years of Jim Beam Surftag, the QLD event has only ever been won by three clubs: Snapper Rocks (five wins), Kirra (four wins) and LeBa (two wins). But while the region has long been dominated, a flurry of young guns have brought lesser-known clubs into the mix, none more so than D-Bah Boardriders.
Headed by two-time, and current World Junior Champion, Jack Freestone, D-Bah has gathered a team of talented young surfers including Brent Dorrington, Nick Vasicek and Samba Mann. Only formed in 2008, the relatively young club has grown astronomically to now be in hot-contention for the title with their neighbouring rivals. After a forth place finish in this event last year and a third at the Australian Championships, Freestone said they're hoping to improve on their past results and stamp D-Bah as a club to beat in the future.
“We’re only a pretty young club and haven’t done half as many comps as Kirra and Snapper, but I feel like we really took it to them last year,” he said.
“Hopefully we can go a few places better this time around. I’m just stoked to be able to surf with some good mates in a teams event like Jim Beam Surftag, and if we all do our bit, there’s no reason why we cant.”
Freestone added the home-break advantage will work in their favour but said their opposition often travels over the hill for the more consistent waves on offer.
“We all surf at D-Bah every day so it’ll definitely work to our advantage. In saying that though, the Kirra and Snapper boys are always out there, so there’s no real surprises for them on comp day.”
Jonny Hewett, club president of defending Australian Champions LeBa, said Snapper Rocks will be the team to beat when the Jim Beam rashvests are pulled on.
“Snapper has to be the favourite for the event with all their history and team surfing success,” he said. “And you never know, they might have the World Champ surfing for their team as well.”
Hewett conceded his fellow teammates - Marcus Aboody, James Wood, Adam Melling and Steven Walsh – will carry a target coming into the event after last year’s success but said the home-break advantage rests with the QLD teams.
“We’re not going into this thinking we’re the red-hot team,” he said. “We had a bit of an advantage last year with having it on our home soil and I think that is now with all those QLD teams. It’s going to be tough for us to compete in their backyard.”
“We thought we might as well go for broke again this year… It’s going to be a case of one step at a time, hopefully the boys flare up and we make our way through to the finals, that’s our goal.”
Snapper Rocks have declared 1999 World Champion, Mark Occhilupo will be surfing for their B team. The iconic goofy-footer is set to ravage the beach-breaks at D-Bah in the form that saw him beat surfers half his age in WQS events last year.
The QLD teams are already on a high after the qualifying spots for the National climax were boosted to eight positions. And with the April competition now locked in at D-Bah as well, the local clubs will have a big leg-up when the nation’s best boardriders clubs arrive to contest the ultimate prize in club surfing.
BOSCH, Sanuk, Perfect Wave Travel, Tracks and Coastalwatch proudly support the Jim Beam Surftag Australian Series.
For results, photos and videos from the event go to www.facebook.com/surftag