Things have changed a bit in surfing over the years. There were no $50,000 contracts for under 18s, in fact no $50,000 contracts at all; when I was 13 Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew won $15,000 in total for the year winning his World Title!
Back in the day, getting to the Australian Titles was the big thing, and I was lucky enough to do that twice. First you had the Gold Coast Titles, and if you made the team you could have a crack against the guys and girls of the Sunshine Coast for the Queensland Titles. It was us and them, and we wanted that place in the Queensland Team so we could go to the Australian Titles.
Surfing Queensland have re-envigorated that rivalry with their Coast of Origin series. Surfers from various boardriders clubs surf to gain points for their club, with winners of the heats getting to go up against their Sunshine Coast rivals to decide the best individual and best club from both Coasts. The deal has been sweetened by a sponsorship package from World Safaris who have come on board with $20,000 in prize money, and the chance for all competitors to win a trip to Samoa.
So earlier this month saw the qualifying rounds for both the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, and commentating at the Gold Coast round it was great to see the spirit the teams competed in, and how keen all the clubs were for a win.
Snapper Rocks Boardriders were favourites as their first class team of surfers set about stamping their authority from the first heats.
Mitch Parkinson and Quinn Bruce got early wins and the celebrated power-sibling act of Ellie Jean Coffey and younger sister Holly Sue Coffey (pictured) contributed to Snapper taking the overall title of Gold Coast Champion Boardriders Club by posting wins in the Open Women’s and Under 18 Girls heats respectively.
Ellie Jean, who relished the opportunity to compete for her Boardriders club said “It’s great post a win for my Boardriders club because normally you’re competing for yourself when you’re surfing”. She continued, “There are heaps of club members down here supporting our team and we can’t wait to compete against the Sunshine Coast in a couple of weeks”.
Snapper Boardriders didn’t have it all their own way with the Burleigh Boardriders hot on their heels. They showed their depth of talent which exists within the club led by veteran club member Kyle Robinson who oversees Burleigh’s junior development program, was stoked with the club’s performance.
“Everyone surfed really well today and it’s great to see some of Burleigh’s best talent progressing through to the state finals of the series” said Robinson.
Jay Phillips, Snapper’s main man, was stoked with his club’s overall performance, and remarked to me that he can’t wait to get to the Sunshine Coast with other surfers from the Gold Coast, and take the trophy back home to the Goldy. It will be funny to see the surfers from the various clubs once again competing as a Gold Coast Team. Go the Goldy!!
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Gold Coast’s representative team will take on the Sunshine Coast’s best surfing talent on 27 and 28 July right here on the GC.
Image: Holly Sue Coffey, courtesy Cory Roberts