Bodyboarding: Gary Thatcher takes out drop knee event in Port Macquarie

PRE-EVENT favourite Gary Thatcher proved too good as competitive dropknee bodyboarding returned to Port Macquarie on Saturday.

After a seven-year absence, 30 of the best bodyboarders from around Australia converged on Town Beach and were greeted with almost perfect conditions.

Three-to-four foot, punchy right-handers provided the backdrop for the event and the best dropknee surfers delivered.

Organiser Clayton Pickworth said Thatcher’s consistency was the key to his success, ahead of Novocastrian Ryan Duck and Victorian Dane Pope.

“Gary was super consistent and picked up scores in the eights and nines the whole way through,” Pickworth said.

“He had big turns and just some nice, smooth dropknee surfing.

“His key was his consistency and he got two good waves and that’s all you need in the end.

“The conditions were good; we had some nice big open faces with good sections so conditions really suited the guys.”

Pickworth said the quality of the competition ensured there were no easy heats when it all started at 7am.

“That’s the challenge in this contest because it’s the best of the best,” he said.

“Every year we usually get some good waves around here – it’s pretty consistent so I’m pretty happy with it.”

Preparations have already started for next year’s event where the focus will be on overseas surfers and increasing the amount of entrants to 48.

“Looking at how the draws work, the numbers would fit in really well with that number,” Pickworth said.

“Next year we’re really going to target the overseas guys.

“When they went to the world tour in Portugal not that long ago they were all talking about it then, but they’d spent all their money and couldn’t get here.

“They’re all keen, we just need to give them a bit more time.”