July 14, 2008: – – The race for the 2008 Billabong Queensland Championship Circuit (QCC) crown is heating up with the fourth stop of the six round, $30,000 series wrapping up on the Gold Coast yesterday. After the $5,000 tournament was halted on the opening day of the two-day waiting period, Queensland's premier open surfing circuit got underway in rising 1-metre beach break waves at Southport Spit.
Snapper Rocks ace Shaun Gossmann did his title chance no harm, trumping the state's top surfers to bag his first QCC win in more than three years. The former Durbanite, whose last QCC victory was the Billabong Coolum Classic in 2005, let rip in the onshore conditions, mixing explosive backhand blasts with rail-to-rail carves to beat Alexandra Headlands surfer Blake Wilson, Currumbin star Corey Ziems and Sunshine Beach ripper Ryan Campbell.
However, it was no walkover with Gossmann coming from behind to finish with a 17.70 two-wave combined total to Wilson's 17.35. Wilson was on fire in the 20-minute exchange, netting a 9.00 and an 8.35 to setup a commanding lead and leave Gossmann requiring a 9.3 for victory.
On the back foot and in need of a big score, Gossmann jagged a set wave with only four minutes remaining. And he made every inch of it count, tearing it to the beach to steal Wilson's thunder with a final-winning 9.5 ride.
"I'm stocked," said Gossmann, who received $2,000 and 1,000 rating points for his win. "I saw that big wave coming and knew it was going to be a great scorer. It was all or nothing, so I'm glad I pulled it off." The 25-year-old has been in hot form throughout the first half of 2008 and is currently ranked 17th on the WQS (World Qualifying Series) heading into next week's US Open in California.
"I've got a massive airfare bill to pay for the next leg of the WQS, so the prize money will sure help," he said. Wilson received some consolation with his runner-up placing backing up his win at the last QCC event on the Sunshine Coast in June. Ziems finished in third on 13.45-points with Campbell in fourth on 7.90.
Despite finishing in third, Ziems maintains his ratings lead with two events; the Billabong North Shore Classic and Billabong Queensland Open, remaining in this year’s series. There he sits on top with 3,700-points, 540 clear of Dave Reardon-Smith (Yaroomba) in second, with Luke Dorrington (Coolangatta) in third on 2,630.
Adding to the event's already high stakes was the Toohey's Extra Dry 'Wave of the Weekend’. Gossmann and North Stradbroke Island ripper Lincoln Taylor shared the spoils, both notching the event's highest wave score (9.5) en route to winning two cartons apiece of the clean crisp taste of Toohey's Extra Dry. Not a bad score for a single wave!
The Billabong Winter Classic was the fourth event of the 2008 Billabong Queensland Championship Circuit (QCC), a six event – $30,000 series, that continues to set the benchmark for surfers aspiring towards a professional surfing career.
The 2008 Billabong QCC title will be decided from a surfer's best four results from the six event series. The series winner will also score a wildcard into the trials of the 2009 Billabong Pro Tahiti and a second wildcard into the trials of the ASP World Tour Event on the Gold Coast in early March, 2009.
The 2008 Billabong QCC is proudly presented by Printpoint.