Competitive fervor high despite lacking conditions
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 4 May, 2017 - Rottnest Island - The Stand Up Surf Shop Rottnest Classic presented by SunSmart got underway today at Strickalnd Bay, with non-elimination round one heats making the most of some lully and wind affected peaks.
WA’s premiere SUP surfing event got underway for it’s third consecutive year with the top seeds showing their class in the inconsistent 2-3 feet (1.0 metre) surf on offer on the south-side of the Island.
“Today’s conditions were far from ideal, but with no losers in round one it was a great opportunity to get the event started with no pressure on our elite field of competitors,” said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks.
Defending champion Kai Bates (NSW) overcame a recent knee injury, surfing for the first time in two weeks. Bates didn’t look hampered at any stage, and used his powerful forehand manoeuvres to move directly through to the quarter-finals.
“I’m really stoked to be back here on Rottnest Island,” said Bates. “WA is like a second home for me now and I can’t wait to surf again out at Stricko’s.”
Over-40 National SUP Champion Rick Jakovich (Gracetown, WA) used his razor backhand turns to win the second heat of the day, joining Bates in the quarter-finals.
Ian Vaz (Brazil), the first international competitor to compete in the Rottnest Classic made his presence immediately felt, winning his first heat in Australian waters.
Vaz was explosive and dynamic at every opportunity, scoring a heat high 8.00 (from a possible 10) for a series of high-speed forehand turns.
“I’m stoked to have won my heat and look forward to exploring the Island today,” said Vaz. “This is my first time to Australia and I’m really excited.”
Inaugural Rottnest Classic champion, Justin Holland (NSW) was the best performer on day one of competition, positing an excellent 8.33 (from a possible 10) to finish on a combined two-wave total of 15.16 (from a possible 20).
“I just tried to get onto the bigger set waves that came through,” said Holland. “If this is the worst of the conditions we can expect, I can’t wait to see what the next few days deliver.”
Shakira Westdorp (QLD) was in a league of her own in the Women’s division, dominating the peaky conditions with her smooth and snappy style earning excellent scores from the judges.
“It’s always nice to surf non-elimination heats,” said Westdorp. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the swell increase over the next few days as the forecast is looking really promising for quality surf.”
Competition will continue tomorrow from 7:40am with the Rottnest Classic and WA SUP Titles both expected to hit the water.