JACKSON Close beat out home-town favourite Darren O'Rafferty to defend his Australian longboard title at the Australian Surf Festival yesterday.
It wasn't all bad news for the Hastings surfers though, with Port's Peter Hudson qualifying for the over-60 men's final.
Hailing from Coolangatta, Close defended his title at North Haven beach in clean three foot waves.
A determined Close was quick to secure a big score early.
His strong opening maneuver with a big re-entry nailed an 8.00 ride, leaving local favourite O'Rafferty and NSW champion Jared Neal chasing the lead.
O'Rafferty jumped onto a right-hander on the northern bank tucking into a clean barrel, and Neal scored a couple of equally solid waves early in the final.
Close's wave selection was perfect and his closing 7.35 ride was unmatchable, reclaiming the title against two of Australia's top longboarders.
"Im so happy, I think I put too much pressure on myself this year to try and win it again and I was getting so nervous," he said.
"Last night I was hoping that it wasn't a close out shore break so it wasn't a lucky dip who got the waves and who didn't."
"I ended up getting my wish, so we were all in the one position and it all came down to picking them, picking the right one that ran all the way.
"I'm just on top of the world, I feel great."
Close who will now go into training for the Australian stand-up paddleboard titles.
The epic week of surfing saw competitors test Diamond Head, Shelly Beach and finally North Haven in a quest for the title.
The variety of beaches offered good banks and new Open Womens champion Georgia Young relished in her first Australian Title.
"We have had such good waves all week, to have a bit of swell and size over here it suits me perfectly, I've had so much fun in every heat," Young said.