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The NSW Board Riding Championships are back with a bang after the competitive return of the event at Merewether Beach on Saturday 8 October saw fantastic conditions pave the way for some strong surfing across the day.

96 registered competitors from 28 clubs up and down the coast would converge on the iconic location for the event – the first time it has been held since 2019.

“The last one was at North Narrabeen and it went really well there, good competitors and good numbers,” said event referee, Carlo Villanti.

“We’re back again though with good numbers once again and we’ve seen some really good surfing.

“In particular, some of the U13 kids and U14-15 kids are very, very good – it’s great to see.”

Indeed, the younger age brackets would put up some of the highest scores of the day, taking advantage of getting in the water early and laying down scores through consistent sets.

George Messiter of Coogee SLSC arguably was the cream of the crop, posting the second highest individual score across the day in the U13 Male Short Board final.

George would triumph by less than a point over Will Tebb of Avoca Beach – ironically, the son of the man who would go on to beat George’s individual high score later in the day. His father, Nigel, would outscore George in the 50+ Male Short Board final.

It wouldn’t phase George, though, he was just thrilled to be out in the water.

“I love surfing – hot, sunny, you’re with your mates most of the time, and competing is good but it’s also stressful,” he said with a laugh.

“I thought it was going to be pouring rain but it was clean and the waves came through in the final, so that was good.

“I was hustling for the better waves and going for a couple of big snaps.”

Later in the day, the Long Board divisions saw some first timers battle it out with seasoned heads.

In the Youth Female Long Board final, winner Isabel Higgs from North Curl Curl SLSC confessed to being “entered by the club” rather than her own choice, but she had loads of fun on the longer board.

“It was really tricky but it was fun at the same time, I really enjoyed it today,” she said.

“I was a bit nervous, I’m not too used to riding it but the people at the club put me in and I thought, might as well give it a shot.”

Many competitors took the opportunity to paddle out for multiple categories, testing their skills across the age brackets. Lily Forbes from Cooks Hill SLSC was one of them, saying the opportunity to get back in the water and competing was too hard too pass up.

“I think I just wanted to be a part of the environment, come down with all my club mates to a local beach and just have a good day,” she said.

“This is my second time doing the Board Riding, it changes it up a bit from your usual board, swim, paddle, it’s good.”

A full breakdown of results can be found here.

Sunday 9 October 2022