What a weekend, wild waves, wild weather, a wild crew and a big warm welcome to the wild west.
The Rottnest Classic is held at Strickland Bay over on Rottnest Island about 20km offshore of Perth. The island is about 11km long by about 5km wide and the only ways to get around are on the bus or by bike. The bus won’t take surfboards so for competitors bikes were basically the only option. Now it is all relatively doable to get out to Rottnest Island, there are multiple ferry services leaving from Fremantle and Hillaries and bike hire is available on island complete with surfboard racks. This doesn’t mean it is easy though, is it worth the effort? Absolutely!
The surf spot, Strickland Bay, is the best spot on the island, usually frequented by numerous short boarders it is basically closed off to the public for the 4 days of competition. SUPs reign supreme on this sucky left and right reef break. I wouldn’t say it is your typical SUP wave, it’s kinda heavy. Just getting out to the takeoff zone is tricky traversing across a flat limestone ledge and paddling out the keyhole that gurgles and boils as water rushes out to the take off zone. The right resembles the inside section of Haleiwa’s infamous toilet bowl section and the left bending away out to sea with a heaving section at the beginning and gurgly shish kabob end section. Barrels can be found both left and right, although the left is the more famous as it seems to hold the bigger swells better. Now don’t let this turn you off the wave, it definitely has its moments of beauty, its just not what I’m used to seeing for SUP Surf contests and I definitely didn’t expect all the local SUP surfers to charge so hard. Basically I was pleasantly surprised!
Again I’m going to give out a few awards for those that competed over the weekend as there were a bunch of memorable moments.
Charger: Mon, for taking arguably the biggest wave of the weekend on the head, snapping her board clean in two. It was one of those turtle moments, “when the wave breaks here don’t be there”. The wave heaved on the outside ledge and basically barrelled over Mon, the lip landing right in the middle of her board. She came up all good with just a scratch on her leg from paddling half a board in.
Soldier on: Darren Mcnabb got the nastiest gash of the weekend as his foot got stuck down one of the holes in the reef. As he walked up the cliff to swap rashies for his next heat you could basically see his heart beating out of his foot. A nice clean little slice on the outside of his foot, which eventually needed a few stitches. The Surfing WA medical team cleaned it up and wrapped it in duct tape so he could continue through to the semi finals of the Pro Division as well as the final of the O50 Mens.
Baywatch: Pete Tomsett took it upon himself to retrieve any boards that floated in after broken leashes preventing them from any damage as well as replacing the leggies that had broken and getting people back out there. Most of the time he was in his board shorts but there was one particular occasion when he had to strip down to his jocks to save the board. Much to the pleasure of onlookers, Pete may have just started his underwear modelling career.
The Champs: Wes Fry and Shakira Westdorp, were ripping all weekend. Both goofy footers were continuously tagging the lefts with Wes accruing the highest single wave score of the weekend with a 9.3 with one big whammy on a closeout left in the final. Shak went on to win her fourth Rottnest Classic by taking off on the biggest waves in the final and basically showing no fear. Not only were they in fine form in the water but backed up each night at Gov's and showed everyone how to party as well. Special mention needs to go to Justin Frother Holland for being the first to Strickos every morning and tearing the bag out of it all weekend too.
Best Prepped for Island Life: While these two didn’t actually compete, Stimo and DC had the best setup on island for tackling whatever the conditions through at them. Equipped with E-Bikes and a trailer Stimo and DC went from bay to bay around the island searching for the perfect foil wave, while stopping in and checking on how the contest was running between sessions and going out on the boat to collect Crayfish, boasting they had enough for everyone on Finals Day. I for one was very jealous but ended up getting a taste of both with a joy ride on the bike and a crayfish tasting plate cooked up by Mr Soldier on himself.
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Day 2 @standupsurfshopfreo @surfing_wa Rottnest Classic 🌊 Through to the Semi Finals tomorrow ⚡ 🎥 @surfing_wa @standupsurfshopfreo 🎵 @gyroscopemusicaus Snakeskin @sunova_surfboards @casey.aus @vmgblades @catfishdesigns @colcrawfordlifestylecars @suzukiaustraliacars @surftrump555 #sunovasurfboards #sunova #throttle #rottnestisland #rottnest #surfing #supsurf #surfsup #standuppaddle #standuppaddlesurfing
Personally I had a super fun event losing in the Semi Final, as Justin ‘Frother’ Holland, nabbed the best wave of the heat in the last 30 seconds, while keeping everyone on the edge of their seats during my Quarter Final needing a 6 point ride to progress over Pete ‘Baywatch’ Tomsett. Check out all the heat scores and results here as well as a bunch of photos at the Surfing WA Facebook Page.