Ten Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) State Champions have been crowned under sunny skies and with pumping winter waves on offer, as the 2023 Stand Up Surf Shop North Freo WA SUP Championship presented by Think Mental Health concluded in style in Geraldton today.
The wave-rich Batavia coastline provided some of WA’s best SUP riders with three days of clean and consistent swells, with a star-studded field of competitors from across the state making the most of dreamy conditions in hopes of qualifying for the Australian SUP Titles scheduled to be held later this year.
Geraldton, a destination that has become synonymous with stand up paddleboarding after hosting the Australian SUP Titles back in 2016, once again provided a winter wonderland with clean 3-4 feet waves on offer at Sunset Beach, with competitors who made the pilgrimage north revelling under sunny skies.
Geraldton’s Ben Mardon made a welcome return to the WA SUP Championship, using his local knowledge to claim victory in the blue-ribbon Open Men’s and hotly contested Over-40 Men’s divisions.
The talented waterman displayed his versatility, flowing with great speed through every turn, posting an impressive two-wave total of 14.00 (from a possible 20), which included a 7.40 and 6.60, taking down rising SUP star Ryder Vernon (Yallingup), as well as in form competitors Peter Tomsett (Greenwood) and former wind surfing World Champion Scott McKercher (Margaret River) in the Open Men’s final.
“It’s been such an amazing event,” said Mardon. “It’s nice to have everyone come up here to my hometown and the waves really tuned it on. I jumped back on the SUP a few months ago after focusing on foiling for a few years and I love hitting some lips again.”
Mardon caught a buzzer beating wave in the final moments of the Over-40 Men’s final, and was rewarded with a 7.67 (from a possible 10) to sneak ahead of Darron McNab (Karrinyup), by just 0.03 when the final siren sounded.
“Everyone has been surfing so well and I kind of know which waves hug the reef the best out there,” said Mardon. “I’m just lucky that wave came to me in time and I did enough to get the score. I really liked surfing with the priority system for the first time.”
Monica McNab (Karrinyup) was another impressive performer in Geraldton, surfing with poise and precision to win the Open Women’s State Title. McNab was critical on her backhand, scoring a heat high 8.27 (from a possible 10) and backed it up with a 6.40, finishing on a two-wave combined total of 14.67 (from a possible 20).
McNab looked right at home in the conditions on offer, taking down Jacenta McKenna (Dunsborough), sister Silvia De Araujo (Scarborough), and Susannah Wilson (Cottesloe) in the Open Women’s final.
“The conditions were perfect out there,” said McNab. “I think that’s the best waves I’ve ever surfed in a competition and we’re all here for a special friend who I think sent us all those amazing waves during that final.”
The standard of competition remained high across all other divisions that hit the water including the tightly contested Over-50 Men’s division.
Darron McNab (Karrinyup) claimed his maiden Over-50 Men State Title with some last wave heroics seeing him move into first place with just seconds remaining during the 25-minute final. McNab jumped ahead of Mike Galvin (Cottesloe) with a 7.30 (from a possible 10), pushing him into the lead when it mattered most.
“it’s the best conditions we’ve ever had in Geraldton, it’s smoking out there,” said McNab. “It’s most the competitive event I’ve ever been in and the waves really delivered.”
Former wind surfing World Champion Scott McKercher (Margaret River) proved to be the best of the big board riders, snatching an impressive win in the rapidly expanding 10ft plus SUP division. McKercher who also designs and shapes stand up paddle boards, returned from his factory in Thailand to compete in Geraldton and the travel miles were worth it when he walked away with the win in his favourite division.
“I’m stoked to see my boards performing so well,” said McKercher. “I’m off to Hawaii on Monday and it’s nice to get some waves under my belt before a few long flights in the coming days.”
In other results from the weekend, Jacenta McKenna (Dunsborough) was the best of the 10ft plus Women, taking out the State Title ahead of new mum Susannah Wilson (Cottesloe). Silvia De Araujo (Scarborough) defended her Over-40 Women’s State Title. Mike Galvin (Cottesloe) won his maiden State Title in the Over-50 Men’s 10ft division. Ryder Vernon (Dunsborough) claimed the Under-18 Junior State Title, while Jamie Ralston (Bicton) was on fire all event, taking out the Over-60 Men’s SUP State Title in style.
The 2023 WA SUP Championship was much more than a competition, with the three-day event bringing together the WA SUP community to celebrate the life of Mid-West local Patrice Richardson. Richardson was a larger than life character, ocean lover and inspiration to everyone she crossed paths with. The event provided the opportunity to come together and participate in a paddle out to honour her enduring legacy.
Isabelle Olney (Bicton) was the popular recipient of the Maverick Award, a new perpetual trophy that will be awarded annually in Richardson’s memory.
Ben Marion claimed the Sunova SUP performance award for his two State Title wins, giving Marion access to a new custom paddleboard valued up to $3,000.
“I’d like to congratulate all our SUP State Champions and event participants who impressed in great waves,” said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. “Geraldton most definitely turned it on and delivered one of the best SUP events I’ve been a part of. We look forward to seeing our WA stand up paddle boarders performing at National Titles.”
Surfing WA acknowledges the State Government’s support through the Road Safety Commission and reminds all our traveling competitors and families of the dangers of sending a text message or using a mobile phone while behind the wheel – Remember #NoTxtNoWrecks.
For more information on this or any other WA event be sure to log onto www.surfingwa.com.au and check out all the Surfing WA social media platforms for event updates and information.
FINAL RESULTS – STAND UP SURF SHOP NORTH FREO WA SUP CHAMPIONSHIP – GERALDTON:
Open Men’s SUP:
1. Ben Mardon (Geraldton) – 14.00
2. Ryder Vernon (Yallingup) – 13.70
3. Peter Tomsett (Greenwood) – 12.40
4. Scott McKercher (Margaret River) – 10.67
State Champion: Ben Mardon
Open Women’s SUP:
1. Monica McNab (Karrinyup) – 14.67
2. Jacenta McKenna (Dunsborough) – 11.70
3. Silvia De Araujo (Scarborough) – 8.47
4. Susannah Wilson (Cottesloe) – 7.83
State Champion: Monica McNab
Open Men’s 10ft SUP:
1. Scott McKercher (Margaret River) – 13.84
2. Crawford Olney (Spearwood) – 10.57
3. Isaac Nettlebeck (Karridale) – 9.37
4. Mike Galvin (Cottesloe) – 8.73
State Champion: Scott McKercher
Open Women’s 10ft SUP:
1. Jacenta McKenna (Dunsborough) – 14.83
2. Susannah Wilson (Cottesloe) – 12.43
State Champion: Jacenta McKenna
Under 18 Junior’s SUP:
1. Ryder Vernon (Yallingup) – 25.49
2. Isaac Nettlebeck (Karridale) – 16.67
* results based off 2x finals
State Champion: Ryder Vernon
Over 40 Men’s SUP:
1. Ben Mardon (Geraldton) – 15.67
2. Darron McNab (Karrinyup) – 10.94
3. Peter Tomsett (Greenwood) – 12.67
4. Joel De Guzman (Jurien Bay) – 7.17
State Champion: Ben Mardon
Over 40 Women’s SUP:
1. Silvia De Araujo (Scarborough) – 24.33
2. Monica McNab (Karrinyup) – 21.17
3. Narelle Kuppers (Margaret River) – 15.97
* results based off 2x finals
State Champion: Silvia De Araujo
Over 50 Men’s SUP:
1. Darron McNab (Karrinyup) – 14.23
2. Mike Galvin (Cottesloe) – 14.06
3. Crawford Olney (Spearwood) – 12.04
4. Chris Twomey (Karrinyup) – 11.50
State Champion: Darron McNab
Over 50 Men’s 10ft SUP:
1. Mike Galvin (Cottesloe) – 12.77
2. Jamie Ralston (Bicton) – 11.97
3. Crawford Olney (Spearwood) – 11.23
4. Tim Calder (Exmouth) – 7.73
State Champion: Mike Galvin
Over 60 Men’s SUP:
1. Jamie Ralston (Bicton) – 30.17
2. Richard Wain (Yallingup) – 22.61
3. Tim Calder (Exmouth) – 22.50
4. Peter Bevan (Fremantle) – 12.94
* results based off 2x finals
State Champion: Jamie Ralston
About the Stand Up Surf Shop North Freo:
With the most comprehensive range of Stand Up Paddle Boards and Foiling Gear in Australia, the Stand Up Surf Shop in North Freo have the toys for every adventure. With over 200 SUP’s and a huge range of Foils for you to buy, hire or demo. In store are friendly experts to help find the right gear for you. More info at: www.standupsurfshop.com.au