SOLDIERS BEACH, Australia (Saturday, March 15, 2008) – The Arrive alive Central Coast Pro saw the crowning of a new champion, as Leigh Sedley (Sunshine Coast, QLD) defeated Shaun Gossmann (Gold Coast, QLD) in the hotly contested Men’s Final.
Sedley defeated Gossmann 13.34 to 12.77 to claim his maiden World Qualifying Series (WQS) win of his career – one which was made even sweeter with the US$10,000 prize purse.
Sedley, who had been one of the most consistent surfers throughout the event, used superior wave selection, patience and a blistering backhand arsenal to eventually outpoint Gossmann.
“I’m so stoked with the result, it’s a perfect start to the year for me,” he said.
“I had to wait 22 minutes for a decent scoring wave, but I knew that when it came I could get the scores I needed.”
Seemingly at the cross roads of his young career, Sedley was determined to do well this year – starting with the Arrive alive Central Coast Pro.
“I had a pretty ordinary year last year, but managed to salvage it towards the end with some good results,” Sedley said.
“This result is such a confidence boost for me. Hopefully it will be the perfect start to a good 2008.”
“I was on the verge of losing focus coming into this year; I said to all my family and friends it was now or never, but I trained really hard in the off-season. I just tried to work really hard on my surfing,” he said.
Shaun Gossmann, who had steadily gained momentum after defeating the number one seed and current World Championship Tour (WCT) surfer Mick Campbell in the quarter finals, was happy with his opening result of the year.
“Coming into the event I wanted to make the final. So I am really happy to have reached my goal,” he said.
“I really want to qualify for the WCT next year. I’ve been training really hard and working on my mental and physical fitness. This is a really good start to the year for me.”
Needing a 6.18 in the last ten seconds to overtake Sedley and take the title, Gossmann received a 5.6 and his fate was sealed.
The Women’s division of the Arrive alive Central Coast Pro saw teenage sensation and Arrive alive ambassador Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa) defeating 16 year old Laura Enever (North Narabeen) in the Women’s Final.
Fitzgibbons, who did not lose a heat all contest, was again in devastating form unleashing a number of backhand maneuvers en route to victory at Soldiers Beach.
“It was a great event surfed in really contestable waves,” she said.
“I am so stoked with the result today. Laura surfed extremely well and it made it a really good final.”
In what was a showcase of the bright future of Australia’s women surfing, Fitzgibbons defeated Enever 15.87 to 11.77 to claim her second World Qualifying Series (WQS) win of the year – backing up her season opening win at Phillip Island and establishing a massive ratings lead.
“I’m enjoying every minute of my surfing at the moment. The past two results have given me an awesome springboard for the rest of the year. To back up my first result in Philip Island is really good.”
When looking toward the future and what looks like an immanent birth in the 2009 World Championship Tour (WCT), Fitzgibbons is not thinking too far into the future.
“I’m not thinking about next year at this stage, I just want to take every event one at a time,” she said retrospectively.
“My plan for 2008 is to just do well and enjoy my surfing, one heat at a time.”
For Enever, a fellow Arrive alive ambassador and junior sensation, her second placing marks the best result of her career to date.
“I am so stoked to just have made the final,” she said.
“When I entered the event I didn’t expect to make the final, so when I made it I didn’t care where I came – I was really stoked to be out there.”
In what already has become a rivalry between the two young guns, Enever was more than contennt to make the final with Fitzgibbons, after being eliminated by her in the semi finals at Phillip Island.
“I’m just really glad to make the finals with her,” she said.
“Sally deserved to win she was the best surfer throughout the whole event.”
The Arrive alive Central Coast Pro saw 144 male and 64 female surfers compete for total divisional prize money purses of US$80,000 and US$25,000 respectively, plus valuable early season WQS ratings points.
The Arrive alive Central Coast Pro is proudly supported by the NSW Motor Accidents Authority, Wyong Shire Council, The Beachcomber Hotel, Ocean & Earth, ASP Australasia, Surfing NSW, NBN Television, Central Coast Sun Weekly, Star FM, Australia’s Surfing Life and Greater Toukley Vision.