Posted on 10/04/2014 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

The Surfing Teams Challenge held to celebrate the first anniversary of the declaration of the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve was a true recognition of what surfing is all about - fun, family, community and great waves… 

Throughout the day, 96 competitors in 12 teams battled it out on the perfect waves under the watchful eyes of judges Pal Cininas and Craig Clark along with a large, supportive crowd. Due to big swells, the event was relocated from Cape Woolamai to Flynns Reef to cater for the wide range of competitor ages.

With only a handful of points between the first and fifth teams, the winning team was ‘Pirates Blue’ captained by John Mason with team members; Tanner Mason, Nick Hugisloot, Brock Jeffrey-Warren, Amber Goldsbury, Cameron Goldsbury, Dean Bould and Tony Reid.

‘Archysurf’ team came in second with ‘Island Surfboards’ in third, ‘The Wave Pinchers’ in fourth and ‘The Super 8s’ in fifth place.

There was a strong community spirit on display with teams like the ‘Seven Dwarves’ made up of local surfer Peter Chaston with seven Super Groms. The ‘Wave Pinchers’ team comprised several generations of surfers from the Fincher family, including surfing legend Dave Fincher who still hits the waves aged 70 plus. 

“Everyone got stuck right into it,” said Geoff Owens, Event Coordinator and member of the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserves Community Working Group.

“There was such a great feeling of camaraderie. After one year, the Surfing Reserve seems to have worked well and has given surfing a really high profile,” Geoff said. 

Competitors commented on the community spirit of the event and how the tag-team format and team make-up allowed for surfers of all ages and styles to have a go:

“I thought it was fantastic, I had a great time. Mother Nature came to the party with great waves and weather and it was a good crowd. The Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve is fantastic and the beaches are a very special part of my life and should be preserved,’ said Sandy Ryan from the ‘Island Surfboards’ team who donated their prize money to the Surfaid charity.

“It was really fun working as a team - everyone enjoyed themselves. National Surfing Reserves are definitely a good idea, they help to preserve the beaches and having an event like this every year is a great thing,” said young Walter Hiatt from the ‘Wave Pinchers’ team.

Andy Neal who heads up Newhaven College’s Surfing Academy said: “It was a great gathering of the surfing tribe – the best I’ve ever seen. The National Surfing Reserve is a special thing to have to recognise the places and surfing history. It’s a great way to say to people when they arrive on the Island that these places are important and somewhere we care about.”

Phillip Island surfing legend Bob Matthews added: “The day was sensational. The best part was seeing the young and old blokes working together as one surfing community - that’s what surfing on Phillip Island is. The National Surfing Reserve is great - I see people in tourist buses pulling up and getting their photos taken next to the plaque at Cape Woolamai and looking out to the surf in awe.” 

As well as the cash prizes, over $3000 worth of goods were donated by local businesses including Island Surfboards, Reece, Outereef, Islantis, Slide and Full Circle.  

The Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve community project continues to be proudly supported by: Bendigo Community Bank San Remo, Cowes and Grantville; Ramada Phillip Island and Wyndham Resort Torquay; Karoon Gas, Phillip Island Nature Parks; Bass Coast Shire Council; Phillip Island Board Riders Club and Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

Surfer star Glyndon Ringrose summed up the event: “It was a great day and brought a lot of people together to surf and the community came and watched too. The Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve is a great idea to look after our environment and to care for the places where we love to go and surf. The beaches are a very special part of my life and should be preserved.”

It is hoped the Surf Teams Challenge will become a regular event on the surfing calendar. Information and ongoing updates about the Phillip Island National Surfing Reserve can be found on Facebook: ‘Phillip Island NSR’Surf