The Open and Masters Nationals were held at Bells in early September in some of the best contest surf I have had at Bells for a long time. It ranged from 2-3ft to 6-8ft with a huge 8-10ft plus swell on Wednesday forcing the relocation of the event to Torquay Point, much to the disappoint of Mark Harrison who was one of the few people who surfed it that morning. Even with a ½ hour paddling out time you’d have to be pretty lucky to get 2 good waves in the 20 min heat time. Fortunately for the old men and the women the decision was made and we had good 3-5ft waves which most people were pretty happy with .The next 2 days we had the semis and finals at bells in reasonably consistent 3-5ft with the occasional bigger set that kept every body alert.
We saw some excellent surfing during the week especially from the open men and women finals. One standout surfer in the early heats was Peter Hughes who did 3 of the most aggressive backhand re-entries on a 6ft wave through the bowl I’ve ever seen. He absolutely destroyed it, unfortunately he didn’t make the final getting eliminated in an earlier round. Mark Harrison convincingly won every heat up until the semis and then got lost at sea between the bowl and Rincon and ended up 5th in both the O35’s and the O 40‘s, a great achievement but he would have done anything to make a final. Melissa Harrison like Mark just couldn’t get a good wave no matter how hard she tried but was stoked to get as far as she did in her first Nationals finishing 6th in the over 35 Women.
Also Garry Burns placed 3rd in the O 45’s and I got 2nd in the O 50’s both of us just needing that one lucky wave. It probably just means we should practise a lot more.
I really think anybody who makes the semis are capable of winning a national title you just have to be lucky enough to click into the rhythm of the ocean and get the right waves, then all you have to do is not fall off.
I’ve included a line up shot of Bells just to show how good it was and also a rare shot of me on a 5ft bowl wave it’s interesting to see the outside twin fin of my 6’6”Stubby just breaking the water. I got the picture from Keith Platt who runs the local newspaper.