QUEENSLAND’S Beau O’Brien converted a solid lead in the open ocean to a good win in the stand-up paddleboard marathon at the Australian Surf Festival yesterday.
Big numbers turned up for the racing from across the country and the strong field was hard to beat as Australia’s best watermen and women paddled from Lake Cathie to Town Beach in the 20km race.
After a shaky start at Lake Cathie, O’Brien demonstrated the seamless technique he is known for to win in an impressive time of 1 hour, 38 minutes and 11 seconds.
“It was pretty good out there, to start off with the nerves got me a little bit because it’s a pretty tough field,” O’Brien said.
“A couple of times I fell off.
“It took me a bit to get back up there, but once I was with the boys I tried to get as far in front as I could, because I knew those boys could run, and I’m not a runner.
“Once I broke away I thought ‘yeah go for it and get a good time and see what I can do’.
“At the end of the day we are all mates out there, we are not trying to smash each other, it’s push the younger fellas along and egg each other on.”
Surfing with extreme style and power in the SUP surfing contingent was the Jakovich brothers from Western Australia.
Rick’s impressive manoeuvres gave him a solid 15.65 heat score and he moves through to round two, where he will surf against his brother Jake.
Fresh off the World Longboard Tour and a dominant force in the SUP world, Beau Nixon (Tweed Heads, NSW) didn’t take long to make a dent on the scoreboard.
His first wave (7.75) gave him an early lead and his later 9.00 ride solidified the heat win pushing him straight through to round two in the open men’s.
Also surfing well and going through to round two in the open men’s was Justin Holland, Geoff Breen and defending champion Jackson Close.
Erin Dark won her heat and is proving a force to be reckoned with once again in the open women’s.