Torquay, Victoria (November 18, 2002) – – The nation’s top aerialsurfer Josh Kerr (Gold Coast, QLD) has been the victim of a hit and runaccident on the North Shore of Hawaii over the weekend, suffering asevere break to his shin and forced to undergo emergency surgery to havepins inserted into his leg. The 18-year-old was found in a puddle on theside of the road by six time ASP World Surfing Champion Kelly Slater(USA), who organized an ambulance and stayed by his side until heregained consciousness in hospital. Kerr was set to return home tomorrowto compete as the top seed in this weekend’s Quiksilver Airshow WorldSeries on the Sunshine Coast but is now in doubt for the remainder ofthe 2002/03 Airshow season.
“I just feel really lucky that the injuries were not worse, the carcould have hit me on the hips,” Kerr said from his hospital bed inHonolulu.
“It all happened so quickly; it was raining and I couldn’t see anythinguntil the car was right on top of me and I dove out of the way but itclipped me on the legs. I must have feinted and I came too for a coupleof seconds and I heard that Slater was looking after me. I thought I wasdreaming.”
“The doctor is stoked with the results of the surgery so hopefully Iwon’t be out of the water for too many events. I will be able to headback to Australia in the next few days which is great.”
The current Airshow series ratings leader had been in brilliant formthis year, capping off his stunning run of results in the USA bybreaking his Aussie hoodoo with the Newcastle victory in the seasonopening Quiksilver Airshow event last month. The Coolangatta surfer hadbeen competing with renewed confidence after fine-tuning his competitivesavvy over the past 12 months.
Kerr, who was enjoying a two week stopover in Hawaii after finishingfourth in the Santa Cruz Airshow in the USA was looking forward tocompeting in this weekends contest for the second series event, statingon Friday prior to accident, “There is no doubt that I am approachingthe whole contest situation with more focus. I was on a major learningcurve last year. My results have given me that added confidence thatmakes all the difference. I went into the Newcastle event knowing Icould take it out after winning in America and I just concentrated on myown performance in that contest rather than being aware of what everyoneelse was doing. To have a win in Queensland would make it that much morespecial.”
Defending Quiksilver Airshow World Series champion Dave Reardon-Smithis hoping for hometown advantage when he competes in front of his localcrowd for the first time in the inaugural Sunshine Coast event. The23-year-old aerial surfer who dominated the 2001-02 circuit commencedthe defence of his title with a respectable third placing at Newcastlelast month in the season’s opening event.
A disappointed Reardon-Smith led for most of the Newcastle final butlate charges by Kerr and Victorian Simon McShane forced him to settlefor third. The 23-year-old surfer is fully prepared for this Saturday’ssecond of the now five event series – after the cancellation of the 2003Bali aerial contest – and will be going all out for a top finish.
“I was unlucky in Newcastle, but I did achieve my aim of a top fourplacing so that I was seeded for the Sunshine Coast event,” saidReardon-Smith. “I can’t wait to compete at home. Everyone I talk to isgoing to the contest. People are even taking the day of work. I willhave heaps of support and that makes me want to do well in front ofeveryone.”
Simon McShane (Gold Coast formerly Phillip Island, Vic) and Asher Pacey(Coolangatta) who finished fourth in Newcastle will also be seeded intoround two. Other surfers included in the 34 man field are Craig Warton(Byron Bay), Dave Neilson (Umina), James Catto (WA), Newcastle finalistKirk Flintoff (Cronulla), Ry Craike (Kalbarri, WA), Mitch Semple(Yaroomba, Sunshine Coast) and rising star Julian Wilson (SuunshineCoast).
A trials event featuring some of the Sunshine Coast’s big name surferswill be staged on Friday the 22nd of November at the main contest sitefrom 8am to noon. Six surfers with the highest accumulative points fromtwo rounds will advance through to Saturday’s main event from the 20 mantrials line-up. Sunshine Coast’s surfers Jamie Thomson, Trevor Tripcony(Yaroomba) and Luke Jory (Noosa Heads) along with the Gold Coasts DionAgius, reigning Australian champion Brett Hardy (Witchcliffe, WA) andformer Airshow finalist Simon Barratt (WA) will all be battling it outin the Quiksilver Airshow World Series Trials.
The 2002/03 Quiksilver Airshow Series comprises of five one-day eventsincorporating Newcastle-NSW, Maroochydore-QLD, Portsea-VIC, Piha-NewZealand and Cottesloe-W.A. Each event shares a prize purse of $20,000with a winner’s cheque of $10,000. Airshow’s have created a sub-culturefor the world’s most innovative and futuristic surfers and haveattracted a strong cult following around the world.
In this specialised series of surfing contests, competitors attempt tolaunch themselves as high as possible off a wave into the air,completing a technical aerial ‘move’ at the same time. Judges only scoremanoeuvres performed in the air, as opposed to the more traditionalapproach of judging surfing manoeuvres on a wave
The main event will be staged on Saturday the 23rd of November in frontof the Alex Headland Skate Park (approx 400m north of the AlexandraHeadland SLSC).
Surfing Queensland would like to thank the Maroochy Tourism IndustryAdvisory Board for living up to their motto of “Your Tourism Levy atWork” and supporting the event.