WILDCARD entrant Owen Wright (Culburra, NSW) is surfing’s undisputed high-flyer after taking down the greatest-ever line-up of aerialists at the Boost Mobile Surf Sho presented by Nokia at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast today.
The Australian Junior champion stamped his mark on the second-annual tournament, soaring past surfing’s top names including reigning world champion Mick Fanning (Coolangatta, QLD), world no.2 Bede Durbidge (Currumbin, QLD) and defending event champion Taj Burrow (Yalingup, WA) to take the crown in excellent 1.5-metre beach break conditions.
18-year-old Wright out-flew his fellow finalist Luke Stickley (Byron Bay), boosting high over Surfers Paradise with a near-perfect 9.93 aerial move in the dying minutes of the 25-minute final to fly away with the winner-takes-all $25,000 prize cheque for the biggest pay day of his career.
On Friday, the super talent won the junior wildcard to secure a spot in today’s main event.
“It’s hard to explain how good I feel,” said Wright.
“I did a couple of good airs in the opening stages of the final, but couldn’t stick any. With a couple of minutes remaining the perfect ramp popped up and I sealed the deal.
“When I landed it I hoped no one landed anything bigger cause all the guys were capable of pulling a big move off. It feels great to win it.”
Wright emerged victorious from the water before being chaired up the beach in front of thousands of cheering spectators to the winner’s podium where he donned the perpetual surf sho champions jacket.
Surfers Paradise proved the ideal playground for today’s main event with surf conditions allowing the 20-strong field to throw down some gravity-defying moves in surfing’s biggest aerial extravaganza.
In contrast to traditional competition, the day’s format was based around a large spinning wheel (Boost Mobile Surf Sho Wheel) that dictated the aerial tricks performed by surfers.
Stickley, who finished in runner-up behind Wright, consistently lifted off above the lip to be one of the standout surfers of the day, but with the winner-takes-all prize purse he walked away with a huge dose of respect.
Finishing equal third in the five-man final were Julian Wilson (Coolum), Dru Adler (Palm Beach) and Asher Pacey (Coolangatta), who all posted impressive performances throughout the day.
Reigning world champion Fanning, just back from his honeymoon in Italy, took to the water in his first surf in over two weeks and was clearly excited to be competing under no ratings pressure in his maiden aerial event.
“I’ve never competed in an event like this, so I’m excited to be here mixing it up with everyone,” said Fanning.
“It’s great to be competing in an event that’s so different. Everyone is rippin’ hard. It’s exciting to watch.”
After a slow start Fanning bounced back into contention on a red lilo to be one of the four top scorers of round two at the Boost Mobile Surf Sho.
The 26 year-old forced to exchange his surfboard for a surf mat after the event’s Game Show Wheel landed on the bizarre Goon section dictating the surfers’ craft for that heat.
World no.10 golfer and keen surfer Adam Scott joked it wasn’t how he expected to see Fanning compete at his first ever-surfing event.
“I didn’t expected to see world champ Mick Fanning riding a red Lillo,” said Scott.
“This is my first ever-surfing contest, so it feels great to be here. The action is amazing.”
Defending event champion Burrow couldn’t repeat the form that saw him win last year’s inaugural event, but the world no.4 had a bash even scoring a 360-degree spin on a bodyboard.
Saturday’s qualifying winner Chris ‘Chippa’ Wilson continued his skyward brand of surfing in today’s main event, bagging a perfect 10-point ride for a superb full-rotation air reverse. Unfortunately, Wilson was unfortunately out-punted in the race for an elusive finals spot.
Not juust a surf sho, the interactive three-day tournament rocked out Surfers Paradise today with a beachside music event. Hitting the stage at completion of the day’s surfing included Kwerkshoppe, Amy Meredith and Razbin Sam.
At the completion of day’s action, contest organisers vowed to be back bigger and better next year.
The three day Surf Sho will open with the Boost Mobile Junior Air Sho Challenge on Friday 18th of April, which is open to forty eight of Australia’s hottest aerial punks aged 18-years and under. The winner will surf away with $1,000 plus a spot into the AUD $25,000 Boost Mobile Surf Sho final.
The action continues on Saturday 19th of April with sixty of Australia’s finest aerial exponents fighting it out for AUD $7,500 worth of cash and prizes and one of four spots in the Surf Sho final. The format is as per a standard surfing event with four surfer heats.
Wrapping up the exciting, all weekend surfing festival will be the invitational Boost Mobile Surf Sho presented by Nokia on Sunday 20th of April, 2008. Twenty of the world’s best aerial surfers will surf against each other in a one day; winner takes all AUD$25,000 Surf Sho. The format will be based around a large spinning wheel (Boost Mobile Surf Sho Wheel) that will dictate the aerial tricks to be performed.
Adding to the already high stakes is the Boost Mobile Jet Ski Tow-In Expression Session. Aided by a jet ski, Boost’s global surf team will attempt to launch themselves as high as possible off a wave into the air, completing a technical aerial move at the same time. This session is bound to be a crowd pleaser!
Airshows have created a sub-culture for the world’s most innovative and futuristic surfers and have attracted a strong cult following around the world.
In Airshow surfing contests, judges only score maneuvers performed in the air, as opposed to the more traditional approach of judging surfing maneuvers on a wave.
About Boost Mobile:
Boost-tel Pty Limited (Boost Mobile) is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. The company is a lifestyle-based telecommunications company that focuses solely on developing and distributing communications products for the youth market. Boost Mobile’s offerings include prepaid mobile phone services, ‘Re-Boost’ pre-paid call credit and a wide range of accessories, Long distance and International calling cards and other cutting-edge mobile services. Boost Mobile’s marketing is centered on youth activities such as action sports, music, fashion and entertainment. Find more information on the Web at http://www.boost.com.au/
Nokia is the world leader in mobility, driving the transformation and growth of the converging Internet and communications industries. Nokia makes a wide range of mobile devices and provides people with experiences in music, navigation, video, television, imaging, games and business mobility through these devices. Nokia also provides equipment, solutions and services for communications networks.v