KINGSCLIFF, Australia (Saturday, March 28, 2009) – Challenging surfing conditions continued at Kingscliff for Day 4 of the Hyundai Malfunction with the business end of the professional SurfTech men’s and women’s doing battle in the 1–2 metre stormy Easterly swell, strong sweeps and stiff SSE winds providing plenty of action for the Worlds best Longboarders.
Both Dane Pioli (Rainbow bay) and Chelsea Williams (Tweed Heads) are on track to chase their third consecutive wins after qualifying for tomorrow’s (Sunday 29th March) SurfTech finals.
“There’s a bit of pressure on me to perform the hat-trick and the commentators are really talking it up which makes it even more exciting,” said defending champ Pioli who learnt how to surf at Wollongong but now bases himself at Rainbow Bay, Coolangatta, “ I went surfing out on the SuperBank (Snapper to Coolangatta) yesterday when the swell doubled in the afternoon and that really helped me prepare for today Quarters and Semis plus I had two warm-up surfs prior to competing this morning,” said a fully pumped and confident Pioli.
Apart from the $7,500AUS prize money on the line, the rating points are equally as valuable as only two LQS spots are up for grabs to qualify for the 2009 ASP World title taken from the three Australian events Agnes Waters, Noosa and now the Malfunction (Kingscliff).
Pioli needs to win or come second to have a chance at the Worlds. He won his semi from Currumbin’s Jackson Close a former National Champ and Malfunction winner. Close is also aiming to qualify for the ASP World title event depending on the result of tomorrow’s final. The main danger man for the Australian contenders is Californian’s Taylor Jensen who blew everyone away on Thursday with a perfect 10 point ride rewarded by the judges for a superman aerial maneuver ala short board invented by Troy Brooks and perfected by world no I short boarder Joel Parkinson.
Jensen who hails from San Diego is more of a short boarder which explains his radical approach to Longboarding, “I landed my first air about 1 ½ years ago and am now really confident of pulling them in a heat, “said the tall, lanky natural footer who is fresh from a win at Noosa, “In previous years I barely made it out of my heat getting use to the powerful point waves here compared to the soft surf in Cali.” Jensen powered his way through the ¼’s and semi’s with convincing wins and posting 9 point rides but nearly didn’t make the final when his favorite board that he won Noosa on broke in half in the semi’s, “luckily it had happened after I scored the 9 and luckily I have a back up board but it’s my only board and I’m treating it with kid gloves!”
Former ’07 ASP World Champion Josh C. of Noosa is recovering from heavy bout of pneumonia although is feeling stronger each day, “I contracted pneumonia 7 weeks ago and only just got back in the water a week before Noosa where I finished runner-up to Taylor,” said the father of two boys Jet ( 3) and 2 month old baby Jive to wife Anna, “I had been training hard and wore myself down but each day I feel stronger and while I’m not at my best I’m in with a shot for the title”, said Josh who has won just about every Longboard event bar that of the Malfunction. At this stage Josh is confident that he has qualified for the ASP World titles after a string of final appearances.
Contest commentator Peter Sainsbury summed it up perfectly, “The guys like Dane, Jackson, Taylor and Josh who got off to an early start were able to dominate the heat and pick off the right waves, whereas their opponents were left playing catch-up and taking waves out of desperation rather than quality rides.”
Final of the SurfTech LQS Men’s: Dane Pioli, Jackson Close, Taylor Jensen, Josh C.
In the SurfTech LQS women’s, Nava Young turned the tide on fellow goofy footer and defending champ Chelsea’s Williams by winning the first semi final after Chelsea had won the opening heat over Nava (daughter of Nat Young). Both girls progressed into the finals.
Williams is also chasing three wins in a row and has yet to strike her best form, as Contest commentator Sainsbury pointed out, “Chelsea is capable of scoring high 9′s on her backhand but needs to concentrate on her wave choice and it’s fickle out there picking the right waves.”
In the other semi Hawaii’s Crystal Dzigas (pronounced with silent d) appears totally at home in the big waves and has been seen out on the Gold Coast points preparing up. Byron Bay medical student who this week graduated and is now referred to as Dr Tessa Davidson also looked calm on her forehand progressing through to the final.
Final of the SurfTech LQS Women’s: Nava Young, Chelsea Williams, Crystal Dzigas, Tessa Davidson