Forster’s Joe Haddon shone in wild surf and took advantage of Russ Molony’s hectic schedule to win his fourth Surfest Wandiyali ATSI Indigenous Classic title on Sunday at Merewether.
Haddon, runner-up last year to 11-time winner Molony, racked up scores of 9 and 8.4 in the final to cruise to the title he last won in 2012. His other victories were in 2004 and 2005.
His task this year was made easier with the absence of Molony for most of the decider. Molony was trying to juggle his commitments with North Shelly at the Australian Boardriders Battle national final at Newcastle Beach and arrived late for the Indigenous Classic final.
With only a few minutes to challenge Haddon, Molony then broke his board in the pumping surf and recorded no score.
Pipeline Masters 1988 champion Robbie Page praised Molony at the trophy presentation for putting his club first.
“Let’s not forget what Russ Molony did today where he made a choice to surf for his club,” Page said.
“That’s worth acknowledging and a round of applause.”
Noah Munro (Noraville) was second with 12.7, while Zac Condon (Lennox Head) scored a 9.8 in the final.
For his win, Haddon took home $6000 and a wildcard entry into Surfest’s 6000-point qualifying series event, the Burton Automotive Pro, which starts with the round of 144 at Merewether on Monday.
The 32-year-old father of two was excited about the victory in damaging 8-10 foot swell and the chance to compete again on Monday.
“Wandiyali put everything into this event, they make it such an unreal event for all of us - it’s got to be the best Indigenous comp we have,” the carpenter said. “I was riding 5’6 all day but it’s got a pretty solid fin set-up, but I’ll need a wider range of boards for the QS tomorrow.
“I’ll go home tonight and get some more boards, and once I see the surf tomorrow I’ll be keen to get into it.
“I love the sound of being in the event tomorrow. I feel warmed up now and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Byron Bay’s Tom Avery won the longboard final, while Finn Hill (Avoca) claimed the junior men’s title.
Bateau Bay’s Jasmine McCorquodale won the women’s event at Nobbys Beach on Saturday, held in two-to-three foot surf.
“It was still pretty tough out there, it was really inconsistent but all the girls surfed really well,” McCorquodale said.
“It’s awesome to get some good wins under my belt, especially here – I love being a part of the Indigenous community so it means a lot for me to win.”