Images by Brad Whittaker
Perfect waves and weather set the scene for a magic day of surfing and community spirit on Saturday January 21.
The Crushers captained by Nick Fostin won the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve Teams Challenge and Dave Fincher Memorial Trophy at a super successful event held at Cape Woolamai.
Cape Woolamai provided the spectacular backdrop for an epic day made all the more special be- cause the comp was celebrating 10 years since the Reserve was declared in 2013.
The day began with a moving Welcome to Country and smoking Ceremony by Steve Ulula Parker – a founding member of the surfing reserve working group.
“There was just a hush – all you could hear were waves breaking. There was so much respect and everyone acknowledged what an important aspect of the reserve the connection to the Traditional Owners is – it means everything,” reflected Danielle Bayliss who also entertained the crowd with commentary on the beach across the day.
As surfers ran through the smoke and onto the beach, Steve wished everyone a great and safe day on Millowl (Phillip Island) and its waters.
The eleven teams displayed an incredible array of surfing styles and moves. Surfers ranged in age from seven to over seventy and all showed courage, skill and the amazing teamwork the comp format calls for.
The surfers were stoked to be able to take over the best bank on Woolamai with a perfect, peeling, three to four foot right hander and a light east nor’east breeze.
First up, the gutsy grommets (the youngest was seven) paddled out some with their dads alongside to encourage and push them onto a wave. From the beach, the judges noted this gesture summed up what the comp and Surfing Reserve are all about – family and encouraging the next generation of surfers.
Keen supporters made the trek down the beach to set up camp, catch up with friends, and enjoy the displays of skill, determination and sometimes comedy. Team spirit was tangible as surfers displayed signs of support and even team t-shirts specially de- signed for the day.