Gas Bay turned it on for some of WA’s best and most experienced bodyboarders as 2023 Think Mental Health WA Bodyboard Championship presented by Good Earth Surf made a welcome return to Margaret River over the weekend.
After a four-year hiatus, Gas Bay delivered hollow tubes and big ramps, with seven State Champions crowned after an unbelievable display of high-performance bodyboarding in the South-West of WA. Clean and consistent 3-4 feet waves brought out the best from a stacked field of competitors who converged from across Western Australia.
“This was the biggest turnout we’ve had for this event in many, many years,” said Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks. “It was so good to welcome back some of WA’s best bodyboarders and see them rubbing shoulders with the new generation of talent we have coming through the ranks.”
Kai De Legh (Perth) defended his State Title from 2022, with a perfect 10-point ride sealing victory in the dying moments of the blue ribbon Open Men’s final. De Legh threw down a massive flip to overtake event standout and Margaret River local Ben Veitch in enthralling battle, that saw the lead change hands many times.
De Legh finished on a two-wave combined total of 17.47, leaving Veitch in second, his brother Josh De Legh (North Beach), in third and WA bodyboarding stalwart Chad Jackson (Dunsborough), in fourth place.
“I’m pretty stoked with that win, I took off and saw the wave bowling out and just went for it, I’m happy to have stuck that flip and take the win,” said De Legh. “It’s been an epic weekend and I couldn’t be happier right now.”
Current Open Women’s Australian Champion Ebony Schell (Mindarie) showed he’s the best in the country, claiming her fourth consecutive State Title with an impressive performance in the powerful waves on offer. Schell will look to depend her crown at the National Titles in Port Macquarie, NSW in August.
“It’s been such a great weekend, hanging with all my friends and surfing some epic waves,” said Schell. “I can’t wait to get over to NSW and mix it up with the all the best girls in Australia.”
Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough), added another State Title to his long list of achievements with one of the best performances in recent years in the Drop Knee division. Jordanoff drew from his years of competition experience to win with a combination of technical and difficult manoeuvres.
Jordanoff took down reigning State Champion Mark Boehm (Woodlands), Barry Hammond (Dunsborough) and Joel Hughan (Trigg) in the final.
“The move to Gas Bay has been a great one in my opinion and the waves on Saturday were as good as it gets for a competition,” said Jordanoff. “I think this is State Title number thirteen for me and I just love bodyboarding and especially the Drop Knee division.”
Chad Jackson (Dunsborough) made a welcome return to the State Title competition with a win in the hotly contested Over-35 Masters division. One of WA’s pioneering bombarders, Jackson was part of the ‘Tension Crew’ who put WA bodyboarding and waves on the global map in the early 2000’s.
Jackson flipped and spun his way to an impressive two-wave total of 16.06 (from a possible 20) on his way to the win ahed of Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough), Sean Oberholzer (Yallingup) and Michael Reid (Margaret River).
“It’s been at least sixteen years since I competed in one of these events, but with such a good forecast I was thrilled to pull on a competition jersey again after so long,” said Jackson. “Well done to everyone here this weekend and thanks to all the sponsors for supporting grass roots bodyboarding at it’s best.”
Sean Oberholzer (Dunsborough) captured his first State Title the Over-45 Grand Masters division with great wave selection and clean finishes getting him the win.
Oberholzer was able to extract the best from the tricky afternoon onshore conditions to take down Barry Hammond (Dunsborough), Glen Schell (Mindarie), Adam Armstrong (Duncraig) and Darren Hocker (Bunbury).
“This is my first State Title and my first time competing in the Over-45’s,” said Oberholzer. “I hope to make my way over to the National Titles and think WA is in a really good position to challenge for some wins.”
In other results from the weekend Riley Schell (Mindarie) won the Under-18 Junior Boys, while Stirling Stilwell (Cottesloe) won the Under-16 Cadet Boys division.
Ben Veitch won the Stealth expression session, claiming a new bodyboard for a massive flip at his beloved home break.
Surfing Western Australia will now work to provide a bodyboard training camp to best prepare the WA Team for the National Titles later this year.
The Think Mental Health WA Bodyboard Championship presented by Good Earth Surfers offers competitors a chance to compete in some of the best waves the state has to offer, whilst also mixing it up with some of the most exciting talent in Australia.
You can keep up to date with all the action by following Surfing WA’s social media platforms or by checking out www.surfingwa.com.au
THINK MENTAL HEALTH WA BODYBOARD CHAMPIONSHIP – FINAL RESULTS:
1. Kai De Legh (Perth) – 17.47
2. Ben Veitch (Margaret River) – 14.70
3. Josh De Legh (North Beach) – 10.63
4. Chad Jackson (Dunsborough) – 4.00
1. Ebony Schell (Mindarie) – 28.07
2. Bronwyn Fricke (Swanbourne) – 8.57
*combined totals from 2x finals
1. Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough) – 28.23
2. Mark Boehm (Woodlands) – 14.01
3. Barry Hammond (Dunsborough) – 10.37
4. Joel Hughan (Trigg) – 10.30
*combined totals from 2x finals
Over 35 Masters:
1. Chad Jackson (Dunsborough) – 16.06
2. Joe Jordanoff (Dunsborough) – 10.77
3. Sean Oberholzer (Yallingup) – 8.30
4. Michael Reid (Margaret River) – 7.57
Over 45 Grand Masters:
1. Sean Oberholzer (Yallingup) – 18.00
2. Barry Hammond (Dunsborough) – 14.50
3. Glen Schell (Mindarie) – 14.20
4. Adam Armstrong (Duncraig) – 12.36
5. Darren Hotker (Bunbury) – 10.34
*combined totals from 2x finals
Under 18 Junior Boys:
1. Riley Schell (Mindarie) – 11.07
2. Joe Savage (Kalamunda) – 9.33
3. Kyle Schubert (Leschenault) – 6.80
4. Karn Williamson (Carramar) – 4.87
Under 16 Cadet Boys:
1. Stirling Stilwell (Cottesloe) – 4.33
Surfing WA reminds all our traveling competitors and families of the dangers of sending a text message or using a mobile phone while behind the wheel – Ditch the distraction and remember #NoTxtNoWrecks.
About Think Mental Health:
The Think Mental Health education campaign is part of a comprehensive approach in Western Australia that aims to build mental health and wellbeing and reduce mental health issues with a view to reducing Western Australia’s suicide rate. The Think Mental Health education campaign’s focus is on assisting the Western Australian community to connect with the best information, support and services for their particular situation, without duplicating the good work already being done. For more information be sure to checkout: www.thinkmentalhealthwa.com.au