The Australian Para Surf Championships was held at Bonny Hills beach today with 27 competitors from NSW, South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland. The Bodyboard Championships* starting tomorrow will wrap up the 17-day Surf Championship event.
The swell continued its challenging run, serving up four-foot sets that pushed the para athletes to new heights and highlighted their clear ability to surf and dominate in the lineup.
Sam Bloom (NSW), 51, had a convincing win over Victoria Pendergast (NSW) in the two-round finals. She won the first heat but in the second trailed until the last five minutes when she wowed the judges and was awarded perfect 10’s across the board.
As a spinal cord injury paraplegic, Bloom has no use of her legs and uses her arms to pivot and turn on the waves.
“It was challenging out there today, it just didn’t stop. It was insane but amazing,” said Bloom after her win.
“I was so lucky to get this wave at the last minute. It was a good wave with a solid wall so I could get a couple of big turns. I dug my arm in and made the most of it.”
Now a two-time Australian Champion, Bloom was ecstatic.
“I’m so stoked! It’s amazing to be able to surf as part of the Australian Surf Championships,” she said.
“For all the para surfers, we’ve overcome so many challenges and it means a lot to have this opportunity to compete and there are so many more people this year, it’s really gaining momentum. It’s going to get harder to win.”
Bloom has also played a part in helping the sport grow.
“I had a message from young spinal cord injury surfer, Max Devery, a few months ago about competing – he’s just 16 and he came all the way from WA with his dad and his friend,” she said.
“He was so good out there and finished with a third place. I was so stoked for him and to see him experience how great it is to compete. That’s the best thing about it, for all of us, life hasn’t turned out the way we thought it would, and we face a lot of challenges, but events like this make it all worthwhile.”
Mark ‘Mono’ Stewart’s reign in the Kneel division came to an end as Newcastle’s Reddog Wheatley came to the fore with a number of great waves and opportunities. Wheatley was able to put his full surfing skillset on show for the judges – not only did he get vertical on his turns, creating powerful snaps, but a couple of waves gave him small cover ups as he pulled in to try to get as much as he could out of them.
“It’s been a good day, winning feels good,” said Reddog.
“I’m on top of the world, my first Australian Title. I wish my mate mono was one-hundred-percent though, we’ve been mates for a long time, we’re the originals that went to the first World Championships in 2015, and I said to him, when you don’t compete I win. He’s a tough competitor and amazing surfer,” he said.
“The conditions were great for us and the waves felt good. It was nice to get good. The big waves suit me a lot more, in smaller waves I struggle to make-do but solid conditions like today allow you to show your skill,” Wheatley said.
Meanwhile, today was also South Australian, Jocelyn Neumueller’s first Australian Championships in surfing. The Paralympic Canoe athlete, who only has the use of one limb, dominated the Prone 2 division. In the second heat she scored an impressive and near-perfect 9.65 with a backup score of seven to lock in her first Australian Para Surf Title.
“I love surfing because the ocean doesn’t discriminate. Once you’re on a wave you have the same capacity to ride the wave as anyone else. Your functionality on land is irrelevant, the water is the most amazing leveller, it brings equality,” she said.
Lee Ferrier (NSW) continued the impressive surfing in the Mixed Prone 2 division to wrap up the day. Ferrier opened the heat with a huge 9.25 using the face of the wave to generate speed and manoeuvres with precision.
2022 Para Surfing Results:
Kneel – Jade ‘Reddog’ Wheatley (NSW)
VI1 and 2 – Jack Jackson (NSW)
S1 – John Wheele (NSW)
S2 – Dale Taylor (NSW)
S3 – Chris Blowes (SA)
Prone 1 Men – Gavin Bellis (QLD)
Prone 1 Women – Sam Bloom (NSW)
Prone 2 Women – Jocelyn Neumueller (SA)
Prone 2 Mixed – Lee Ferrier (NSW)
Surfing Australia is working in conjunction with Surfing NSW to bring the 2022 Australian Surfing Championships to wave-rich Port Macquarie to crown the newest Australian Bodyboard Champions.
NOTE: Entry to all Australian Titles is by state qualification or invitation. If you have qualified through your respective state titles, please enter via your state branch.
NOTE: All events and event dates are subject to change. Surfing Australia strictly adheres to any Federal Government directive regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Australian Surf Championships | Port Macquarie, NSW August 5 – 22, 2022
- August 5 – Opening Ceremony for the Australian Shortboard Titles
- August 6 – 10 – Period for the Australian Shortboard Titles
- August 10 – Opening Ceremony for the Australian Longboard Titles
- August 11 – 19 – Period for the Australian Longboard Titles
- August 20 – Australian Para Surfing Titles
- August 21 – 22 – Period for the Reflections Holiday Parks Australian Bodyboard Titles (Further division scheduling to follow)
ALL EVENT INFO HERE: https://australiansurfchampionships.com/
The Australian Surf Championships is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
The event is also proudly supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, the Australian Institute of Sport, Ingenia Holiday Parks, mySURF.tv, Surfing Australia and Surfing NSW.