(North Narrabeen, NSW – Sunday, 25 January 2009): The first day of the NSW Jim Beam Surftag heralded big scores and spectacular surfing from the states best board riding clubs.
With up to 40 teams jam packed with professional surfing stars from all corners of the state, the action was of the highest order as local pride was put to the test at North Narrabeen.
With a handful of ASP World Tour surfers and top rated ASP Australasian Pro Junior's competing for their local board riding club, Tom Whittaker (Bronte) and Dayyan Neve (North Steyne) led their respective club's through to the quarterfinal stages in style.
For Whittaker's Bronte Blue Ducks they accrued the second highest heat total of the day, with 92.3 points (out of a possible 204).
"We're stoked to have gotten through to tomorrow's competition," Whittaker said.
"Our whole board riders club is down here and the vibe is awesome, it's such a sick event."
Having surfed in the trials to gain entry into the main event, getting through to the quarterfinal stages is special thing for both the club and Whittaker as an individual.
"We didn't really expect anything we just wanted to have fun and try to do well," said the world's 17th ranked surfer.
"I get more nervous surfing in this than I do on the Tour," Whittaker added.
"Surfing for your best mates carries more responsibility I think – your doing it for the boys not yourself."
Unlike conventional surfing contests that play upon individual results, the Jim Beam Surftag National Series is a teams based concept drawing upon the performances of five surfers per team – as opposed to one.
However the best individual performance of the day went to Matt Wilkinson (Avoca) with a combined heat total of 28 points (out of a possible 40).
North Narrabeen started their title defence as current Australian Jim Beam Surftag Champions with an impressive performance.
In what was a battle of the south coast clubs, Sandon Point, Werri Beach and Wollongong all qualified through to the final day of competition with an excellent display of surfing in tricky one-and-a-half metre conditions.
Led by the duo of former ASP World Tour stalwart Todd Prestage and ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) standout Rhys Bombaci, Werri Beach posted the highest combined heat score of the day with a 92.8 (out of a possible 204).
The final day of the NSW Jim Beam Surftag will be held at North Narrabeen tomorrow, with a state champion to be crowned and valuable qualification spots up for grabs.
For more information be sure to log on to www.globalsurftag.com.
The NSW Jim Beam Surftag is proudly supported by Jim Beam, FCS, O’Neill, Vmoto, Coastalwatch, Rockstar Energy Drink and Tracks.