HIF Pro Am
Surfing Western Australia
Gas Bay, Margaret River
24 - 25 February, 2017
4-6 feet surf on offer for competitors who gathered from across the state
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 February, 2017 - Margaret River’s Jerome Forrest has conquered an all-star field at Gas Bay to claim victory at the opening event of the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) WA Pro Am Series presented by SunSmart.
The surf-rich Margaret River region turned on classic summer surf conditions, with 4-6 feet (2.5meters) waves on offer for competitors who converged from right across the state.
Starting on Friday and concluding Saturday, the event was treated to two consecutive days of pulsing swell and clean conditions, making for a memorable start to WA's Pro Am Series in 2017.
Forrest was an event standout, mastering the punchy and powerful waves at Gas Bay with ease. The reigning Open Men’s State Champion used his local knowledge and displayed a full repertoire of manoeuvres has he won all his heats on route to the final.
In the blue-ribbon Open Men's final, Forrest opened with an excellent 8.17 (from a possible 10) and kept his momentum rolling, finishing on a two-wave total of 15.67 (from a possible 20).
Despite the best efforts of Jethro Hedstrom (Margaret River), Dave Delroy-Carr (Margaret River) and Voltaire Takahashi (Margaret River), Forrest left his fellow finalists chasing a combination of scores to win when the siren sounded.
"I'm so stoked to have won in probably the best waves we’ve had for a State Title ever," said Forrest. “To surf with three of your best mates in a final is always cool but I just got lucky with the few waves I got."
Current Under-16 Australian Junior Champion Jamaica Selby (Margaret River) proved she’s a star on the rise, taking out the hotly contested Open Women's division.
Selby defeated some of the best up and coming female talent in WA and showed great gusto in the challenging surf at Gas Bay. In a close finish, Selby was too good for April McPherson (Mandurah), who finished in second ahead of Emma Cattlin (Yallingup), Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) and Pemba Spargo (Albany).
"This is my first Open Women’s win so I’m really excited," said Selby. "I'm thrilled to see some of the younger girls here competing and thanks to Surfing WA for holding the event."
The event also saw many of the state’s best up and coming juniors move up into open age competition for the very first time. The Under-21 Pro Junior final was brimming with talent, as Jolan Bonelli (Margaret River), Jake Edwards (Cottesloe), and Gracetown brothers Ben and Jed Gradisen going all-out in a display of WA's next generation of surfing champions.
At just 16 years of age Jolan Bonelli turned heads and wowed the crowd, dropping the highest combined total of the event 18.83 (from a possible 20), which included a near perfect 9.50 (from a possible 10) to claim a dominant win ahead of some stiff opposition.
"The waves today have been so good," said Bonelli. "It’s been a really fun event and I’m stoked to have won."
The HIF Pro Am Series also attracted a host of WA's most experienced surfers, who competed in an array of different masters divisions.
Andrew Sheridan (Margaret River) won the Over-35 Masters division with his smooth and flowing forehand style getting the job done ahead of Simon Hughes (Waterman's Bay), Nick Black (Mandurah) and bodyboarding legend Ryan Hardy (Margaret River) in fourth.
"We've been so lucky this weekend," said Sheridan. "It’s good to score great waves for our home event, so happy to have won my first State Title in a while."
Paul Paterson (City Beach) was in great form, using a borrowed surfboard to win the Over-40 Senior Masters division. Paterson the reigning Over-40 Men’s State Champion scored a combined total of 15.40 (from a possible 20), defeating Tommy Trigwell (Yallingup), Shane Drew (Mandurah) and Mark Clift (Trigg).
"It’s so good to be able to surf a wave with consequence," said Paterson. "We’re really lucky to be able to surf in such great locations here in WA that offer a little bit of everything."
Mark Clift (Trigg) surfed with style and grace to take out both the Over-45 Grand Masters and Over-50 Legends divisions. Clift picked off the very best waves on offer and smashed each and every section that came his way.
"I’m a proud West Australian and it’s great to be here with my mates and catch up with the crew and have a surf while we’re at it,” said Clift.
In other results from the weekend, Ian Darby (North Beach) took out the Over-55 Kahunas and Over-60 Dukes division ahead of his close mate Leon Norris (Geraldton).
“I haven’t surfed at this event in a few years, but I’ve got the mocker off my back now and I’m it’s been really great fun competing with Leon.”
Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks was delighted with the results on the weekend and the outcome of the revamped State Title format and the quality of surf on offer. “For all the elements to come together for us was great,” said Majeks. “It was rewarding to see four generations of West Australian surfers competing so well in high quality conditions.”
Cyrus Cox (Margaret River) was awarded the ‘HIF Wave of the Weekend' for the events only perfect 10 ride. While Sheldon Spencer (Mandurah) walked away with a brand new Slater Designs SCI-FI thanks to Firewire Surfboards, the official surfboard partner of the HIF WA Pro Am Series.
After a hugely successful start to the 2017 event series, attentions now turn towards the second event, which will be held on Rottnest Island in May.
Surfing WA reminds all our travelling competitors of the dangers of sending a text message or using a mobile phone while behind the wheel. The #NoTxtNoWrecks message is supported by the Western Australian Government’s Road Safety Commission and the RAC.
FINAL RESULTS HIF WA PRO AM SERIES ROUND # 1 – GAS BAY, MARGARET RIVER
1. Jerome Forrest (Margaret River) 15.67 - $500
2. Jethro Hedstrom (Margaret River) 8.57 - $250
3. Dave Delroy-Carr (Margaret River) 8.33 - $150
4. Voltaire Takahashi (Margaret River) 6.37 - $100
1. Jamaica Selby (Margaret River) 25.39 - $100
2. April McPherson (Mandurah) 24.27
3. Emma Cattlin (Yallingup) 20.50
4. Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) 19.04
5. Pemba Spargo (Albany) 13.40
*combined best two waves from 2x finals
Under 21 Pro Junior:
1. Jolan Bonelli (Margaret River) 18.33 - $100
2. Jake Edwards (Cottesloe) 13.73
3. Ben Gradisen (Gracetown) 13.16
4. Jed Gradisen (Gracetown) 11.04
Over 35 Masters:
1. Andrew Sheridan (Gracetown) 14.10
2. Simon Hughes (Waterman's Bay) 13.60
3. Nick Black (Mandurah) 8.30
4. Ryan Hardy (Margaret River) 8.07
Over 40 Senior Masters:
1. Paul Paterson (City Beach) 15.40
2. Tommy Triggwell (Yallingup) 13.77
3. Shane Drew (Mandurah) 10.66
4. Mark Clift (Trigg) 7.90
Over 45 Grand Masters:
1. Mark Clift (Trigg) 14.43
2. Toryn Crocker (Claremont) 12.60
3. Tommy Triggwell (Yallingup) 12.07
4. Brad Cowan (Margaret River) 7.33
Over 50 Legends:
1. Mark Clift (Trigg) 15.40
2. Matthew Webb (Margaret River) 10.20
3. Adrian Shepherd (Albany) 9.20
4. Brad Cowan (Margaret River) 7.66
Over 55 Kahunas:
1. Ian Darby (North Beach) 11.34
2. Leon Norris (Geraldton) 5.50
Over 60 Dukes:
1. Ian Darby (North Beach) 10.83
2. Leon Norris (Geraldton) 6.83