NOOSA HEADS, Queensland/Australia (Thursday, March 18, 2010) – The Noosa Festival of Surfing revealed just why the world’s top pro’s return each year as dredging low tide conditions produced show-stopping action, during the Men’s and Women’s Pro semifinals today.
Local talent Josh Constable (Noosa) once again asserted his dominance at his home break, rising to the fore of an extraordinary semifinals clash in the Men’s Golden Breed 1-Star LQS that saw the end of his run for reigning ASP World Champion Harley Ingleby (Coffs Harbour).
“The standard is always going to be high at Noosa and everyone was ripping out there,” said Constable. “Harley was unfortunate not to get the better waves but this is his first heat as the world champ so there’s a lot of pressure and I’m just lucky this is my backyard.”
As set after set of clean hollow tubes poured the length of First Point, it was Constable’s speed and power that could not be matched by his competitors.
The three times Noosa Champion and former World Champion bettering an 8-00 point opening ride from Dane Pioli (Gold Coast) with his 8.75 (both out of ten) for a series of off the top smacks and a controlled floater.
As the battle for second place waged between Pioli and eventual runner-up Christian Wach (USA), Constable further extended his lead with a 7.65 to take the victory and charge into Sunday’s final.
“I’m feeling really good right now,” Constable said. “I’ve had a long off season to train and get fit and it paid off with all that running and paddling out there today.
I’m excited to be in the final with Jensen (Taylor), if you’re going to win you want to do so by beating the best so I’m looking forward to a good battle.”
Wach, who advanced into the main event by surfing the trials yesterday, was overjoyed to have earned his spot in the final.
“I’m thrilled to make it through that heat,” Wach said. “I wasn’t even going to enter the contest but my girlfriend was having such a good time in Noosa that she convinced me to compete.”
The second semifinal, although not nearly as dramatic, saw a hero’s performance from the defending champion Taylor Jenson (USA). Despite spending two days in hospital from a debilitating stomach bug, the stylish American managed to paddle out for his semifinal heat, surfing with admirable determination to advance in second place.
“I was thinking about withdrawing from the contest this morning,” said a softly spoken and clearly unwell Jenson. “I managed to find just enough energy to get through that heat and now I’m going straight back to bed.”
Jackson Close (QLD) produced an excellent performance to capture the victory over Jensen, advancing with 13.50 to Jensen’s 13.35 (both out of 20.00) while Grant Thomas (QLD) and Thomas Kibblewhite (NZL) where eliminated in third and fourth places respectively.
The Back Beach Women’s division saw a clean sweep from the Hawaiian surfers with Leah Dawson and Crystal Dzigas winning both Semifinals.
Dawson gave local favourite and Australian Champion Rosie Locke (Noosa) a scare in their Semifinal heat, the gutsy Hawaiian exhibiting precision and control to advance in first place with an excellent 8.00 ride in her two-wave tally.
“I’ve been looking forward to coming to this contest for six years now so I feel truly blessed to be here this year,” Dawson said. “Australia is an amazing place and I’ve never surfed as good a wave as Noosa before.”
A two time Pipeline Pro Champion, Dawson will be the girl to watch out for if conditions reach the predicted two- meters at the weekend.
“I’m excited for the big swell, I’m from Hawaii and I love big waves so I think if conditions increase it will definitely be to my advantage.”
Locke who put on a respectable performance with a series of roundhouse cutbacks and off the bottom, off the top combinations was clearly rattled by her defeat.
“I actually thought I’d finished in third so it’s a relief to get through,” said Locke. “Leah is one of those ‘unknowns’ to me, as I’ve never seen her surf. I think my best score was on par with her back –up ride so I’d better get practicing.”
Dzigas who’s flawless style earned her a convincing victory over Isabele Braly, will be another standout in the bigger surf.
The Hawaiian surfer advanced into the final alongside Braly, the pair eliminating Georgia Young (WA) and Bianca Antsiss (NSA) from the event.
The first round of the Suncorp Stand –Up Paddle Pro was completed with top performances seen from Roger Saunders (NSW) and Dane Wilson (QLD), while the Global One Design saw some entertaining surfing from invited surfers such as four times World Champion Mark ‘MR’ Richards, Rip Curl Co-Founder Doug ‘Claw’ Warbrick, Noosa Festival of Surfing Director Phil Jarratt and more.
The action continues tomorrow with the first rounds of the Juniors from approximately 07H00.
The Global Surf Industries Noosa Festival of Surfing, presented by Golden Breed, boasts the most diverse program of surf competitions under the one banner anywhere in the world. From Pro’s to paddlers to grandpas and groms the event draws the best longboarders and watermen in the world.