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International Bodyboarding Association (IBA)

World Tour Event (WMT)
Shark Island – Cronulla – Australia
June 27th – July 31st

The HUMAN Cronulla Shark Island Challenge – presented by Rockstar Games

The Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge Western Australian Ryan Hardy wins $20,000

By Mark Fordham

Western Australian Ryan Hardy pulled off one of the most dramatic wins in the history of the CSIC. An incredible day of bodyboarding went down to the wire with Hardy taking out the first prize cheque of $20,000 in the 10th annual Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge held in near perfect 6 – 8ft waves. Hardy was on fire all day and was a well-deserved winner.

The last day was held in unbelievable 4 – 8 ft conditions. One of the best days ever seen for the CSIC. Riders and officials were put on hold until the last minute by contest organiser Mark Fordham until conditions became more that favourable.Conditions before the first heat we cross shore and raining though as the tide started to rise the winds eased and turned a light offshore, the waves went from 3 – 4 feet to a solid 6 – 8ft for the semis and final. The wind come up slightly for the final thanks to a heavy rain squall and with fading sunlight the riders faced every challenge imaginable. As the sets peaked a 8ft those in the final who thought they were safe with just big tubes were totally mistaken, it was Hardy who was pushing it that one step higher, busting some of the biggest inverts ever seen out there.

With the 25min final starting at 5pm the finalist knew they had to pick and choose their waves wisely. Waves were pumping in, set after set. With the sun already setting in the west and the city traffic busy shuffling home.. the Island turned it on for the Biggest Final in Years… Ryan Hardy, Jeff Hubbard, Damian King & John Showell… without dispute… this was one of the hardest finals anybody would dream of being in.

Within seconds of the hooter, Cronulla local John Showell took to a massive bomb… stamping his local authority all over it… Hardy then answered, followed by Hubbard then Kingy… this was one of the closest contests we’ve ever witnessed.

The final belonged to the Western Australian, huge tube time and massive air time, a devastating display of pure hardcore surfing at its best.

Right from round one Hardy was showing the form that has seen him win two Australian tour events and is now in serious contention for his first IBA Men’s World Tour title this year.

After the presentation Hardy was lost for words and over run by emotion.

“I can not believe I have actually won this event” screamed an elated Hardy. “Winning this event is everything, I have tried over the years but I have just never been in a good position. Today the waves were just pumping and I just went for it so yeah, super stoked.”

After being lifted to shoulders of King and Hubbard and doused with the finest bottle of Champagne Hardy expressed how he as a younger grommet was inspired by the Cronulla bodyboarders when starting out..

“I would like to say one thing and that is a special thanks to the Cronulla locals especially the original crew Fordy, Nugget, Percy, Wingnut, Rissole, Brett and Doug just to mention a few. You guys not only inspired me but a whole generation. If it was not for all of you we wouldn’t have an event like the Challenge.”

Runner-up, Cronulla young gun John Showell had his best win out at his home break to date and looks set to challenge Hardy for the title.

“The final was insane. The waves were just coming in and lining up perfectly on the reef. The wind came up a bit but it didn’t effect it to much, just before the end of the heat it was really weird, it was pretty dark and the lines were just marching in. All you could see were these dull lumps of water just jacking up as they hit the outer reef.”. “Hats of to Hardy though, he caught some sick ones. He was ripping all afternoon. Everyone was ripping actually, it was a great day, I am sure everyone that was present watching the event will remember it for some time yet.”

Finishing in third place was 2x World Champion and 2001 winner Damian King. King who scored perfect 10’s for one of the biggest barrels during the semi finals excelled in the heavy conditions though couldn’t come up with the goods to take out his second CSIC title.

“I was trying to find another bomb during the final but it just didn’t come my way. I am just stoked that we scored epic waves. The conditions looked pretty average first thing in the morning and to see it pumping all afternoon was insane. Everyone was so amped it was amazing. This is what we were hanging out for and to surf Shark Island in these kind of conditions is what it is all about.”

Before the winners were announced three awards were presented

Best Barrel – Damian King

Best barrel was awarded to Damian King for a wave that he was scored perfect 10’s for in his semi final. King won a two week boat trip through the Mentawaii Island with return airfare courtesy of the Surf Travel Co.

Best Move – Jeff Hubbard

Best Move was awarded to Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard for his incredible inverts through out his quarters/semi and finals. There were just to many to count on. Hubbard won a huge picture frame of Shark Island by local legend Jon Frank, this was presented by 71percent Water and a one years subscription to Riptide Magazine.

Water Channel award for best charger – John Showell

The Water Channel award was presented to Cronulla local John Showell. Steve Mackenzie awarded the trophy to the up and coming ripper for his total commitment during the second day. Showell took on every wave to his full ability showing just why his is one of the major threats on this IBA men’s world tour.

Final results

Heat 1

Name Place Vest
1) Jeff Hubbard (Haw) (13) 4 Red
2) Ryan Hardy (Aus) (5) 1 White
3) John Showell (Aus) (local) (6) 2 Yellow
4) Damian King (Aus) (3) 3 Black

Semi final results

Heat 1

Name Place Vest
1) Ryan Hardy (Aus) (5) 1 Red
2) Jeff Hubbard (Haw) (13) 2 White
3) Ben Player (Aus) (1) 3 Yellow
4) Alex Bunting (Aus) (X) 4 Black

Heat 2

Name Place Vest
1) Mitch Rawlins (Aus) (2) 3 Red
2) Damian King (Aus) (3) 1 White
3) John Showell (Aus) (local) (6) 2 Yellow
4) Yeray Martinez (Canaries) (15) 4 Black

Quarter final results

Heat 1

Name Place Vest
1) Alex Leon (Aus) (local) (21) 4 Red
2) Ryan Hardy (Aus) (5) 1 White
3) Jeff Hubbard (Haw) (13) 2 Yellow
4) Dave Winchester (Aus) (4) 3 Black

Heat 2

Name Place Vest
1) Alex Bunting (Aus) (X) 2 Red
2) Nick Ormerod (Aus)(trials) (24) 3 White
3) Mike Stewart (Haw) (16) 4 Yellow
4) Ben Player (Aus) (1) 1 Black

Heat 3

Name Place Vest
1) Yeray Martinez (Canaries) (15) 2 Red
2) Mitch Rawlins (Aus) (2) 1 White
3) Chris James (Aus) (23) 4 Yellow
4) Josh Kirkman (Aus) (10) 3 Black

Heat 4

Name Place Vest
1) Christian Riguccini (Aus) (local)(19) 4 Red
2) Damian King (Aus) (3) 1 White
3) John Showell (Aus) (local) (6) 2 Yellow
4) Andrew Lester (Aus) (local) (22) 3 Black

“This event was one of the hardest I have ever had to do”, explained Mark Fordham during the conclusion of the event.

“The conditions just never let up until you least expect it, you have to be on it 24/7. It looked so over and out early this morning. Kingy and I were checking it a 7am, checking the maps at 9am, back down checking it at 10am. I had to make a call by 11am so I just got everyone prepared. At 1.30pm I had the media boat leave the bay in driving rain and onshore winds. I had riders and officials looking at me as if I was some sadistic freak. By 2pm the wind just started to drop and swing offshore, the waves went from say 4ft+ to a constant 4-6ft with bigger sets, the sun showed its head through the clouds and the rain went and came as it pleased. Ben Matson from Swellnet had been giving us reports all week, and by all indications it was to pick up during Thursday / Friday, I guess what I am trying to say is that Shark Island has a mind of its own, you can drive yourself insane checking forecasts and trying to predict the impossible day in day out. Shark Island is a magical break, it is so unpredictable. When it all comes together its just incredible.”

“The whole month has been great especially for bodyboarding. Special thumbs up for all the riders and officials that made the commitment over the past month, especially the International component.”

“On a closing note I would like to thanks all the sponsors that have made this event happen. Human for there continual support. Rockstar Games for there commitment to bodyboarding, Surf Travel Company who have been with the event for just under 10 years, Riptide Magazine, Emerald Surf City, Endless, Nomad bodyboards, Coreactiv, Swellnet and The Quest Apartments Cronulla Beach.”

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The Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge (June 27th – July 31st)

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