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Stormy Rottnest Island surf decides WA champs

Harry McPherson © Surfing WA/Woolacott




HIF Pro Am Series
Presented by Sunsmart

Rottnest Island, Western Australia
21 - 22 June 2014

State Surfing Champ Event Completed in Just One Day

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 23 June, 2014 - Trigg Beach, WA - The pressure was on at the final event of the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF) Pro Am Series presented by SunSmart over the weekend at Rottnest Island, not only for competitors, but also officials as a strong cold front approached the state bringing with it large surf, damaging winds and heavy rain.

Event organisers were forced to complete the entire competition in just one day instead of the designated two as inclement weather battered much of the state. It was a case of now or never to finalise the 2014 State Surfing Champions and the last positions to represent WA at the Australian National Titles in Coffs Harbour in August.

Large surf and strong winds transformed a typically picturesque Rottnest Island, with winds reaching 96 kilometres per hour just prior to the event finals starting. The blustery winter conditions didn't deter a small but classy field of West Australian surfers from lifting the performance bar in hopes of representing WA at the upcoming Australian Surf Festival.

A breakout performance from 18 year old Harry McPherson (Mandurah), saw him surf with precision and tact to claim his ever blue ribbon Open Men's win ahead of a determined Simon Hughes (Watermans Bay). During the entertaining 30 minute final, McPherson was innovative with his repertoire of new school manoeuvres dropping a heat high 8.00 (from a possible 10) on his way to a combined total of 11.90 (from a possible 20).

"I’m really happy with the result, it was very hard work out there and this is my first ever win in the Pro Am Series," said McPherson. "I've just returned from Indonesia so adjusting to the weather on Rotto has probably been the hardest part."

Hughes relied on powerful carving turns to post a combined 11.50 total, with just 0.40 points separating the top two when the siren sounded, leaving Josh Burke (Margaret River) in third with James Fleming (Geraldton) in fourth place.
In the Open Women's final, Yallingup's Claire Bevilacqua wound back the clock to claim her first WA State Championship in over a decade. The former ASP Women's WCT competitor used every ounce of her experience to post a 14.50 combined total (from a possible 20). 

Bevilacqua let her natural surfing ability do the talking, defeating a new generation of WA female surfer sincluding Bailee Hastie (Gracetown), Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) and Marnie Durant (Carnarvon).

“I love Rottnest and competed here a lot in the Junior Series growing up,” said Bevilacqua. "I'm motivated to encourage and support the next generation of female surfers in this state and they all pushed me claim this State Championship here today."

Josh Burke (Margaret River) claimed the "HIF Wave of the Weekend" on his way to back-to-back U/21 Pro Junior State Championships. Burke obliterated any wave that offered a vertical section, posting the weekend's highest combined score of 16.27 (from a possible 20). 

Burke nailed the final with his characteristic driving turns that he combined with speed and power, leaving James Fleming (Geraldton), Jake Edwards (Cottesloe) and  Harry McPherson (Mandurah) finishing second, third and fourth respectively.
"I’m pretty happy with the win considering the conditions,” said Burke. "It was pretty tough going out there but to have swell and claim consecutive titles makes the trip over to Rotto a worthwhile one."

Using his vast competition experience combined with his expertise in large surf, Paul Paterson (City Beach) won both the O/35 Masters and O/40 Senior Masters divisions in style. Catching only the very best waves that came through, Paterson demolished the wind affected peaks at Strickland Bay to claim the O/35 State Championship and finishing in second behind younger brother Jake Paterson (Yallingup) in the O/40 Senior Masters Title race.

"I just love Rottnest, it's the one event I make sure I attend each year," said Paterson. "The call to push through everything in one day was gold, as Sunday was simply out of control over there."

In other results from the weekend Albany's Adrian Shepherd won the O/45 Grand Masters with a great display of high speed backhand surfing, with Sheldon Spencer (Mandurah) and Ian Darby (North Beach) taking out the O/50 Legends and O/55 Kahunas divisions respectively.

Despite the tough conditions faced, Surfing WA Events Manager Justin Majeks was complimentary of the competitors that made their way across the ditch to Rottnest Island. "The entire HIF Pro Am Series this year has been highly successful with strong performances across all divisions and events. The 2014 WA State Open Team looks to be one of our strongest in recent history and are now set to tackle Australia's best."

All attention now turns to preparing the WA State Champions and their teammates for the upcoming Australian Surf Festival which runs from the 1st - 18th August in Coffs Harbour, NSW.


Open Men:
1. Harry McPherson (Mandurah) 11.90pts $500, 2. Simon Hughes (Watermans Bay) 11.50pts $250, 3. Josh Burke (Margaret River) 9.13pts $150, 4. James Fleming (Gerladton) 7.56pts $100.

State Champion: Shaun Howe (Geraldton)

Open Women:
1. Claire Bevilacqua (Yallingup) 14.50pts $150, 2. Bailee Hastie (Gracetown) 8.77pts, 3. Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup) 8.20pts, 4. Marnie Durant (Carnarvon) 6.27pts.

State Champion: Claire Bevilacqua (Yallingup)

U/21 Pro Junior:
1. Josh Burke (Margaret River) 16.27pts $100, 2. James Fleming (Geraldton) 11.94pts, 3. Jake Edwards (Cottesloe) 10.66pts, 4. Harry McPherson (Mandurah) 10.24pts, 5. Mitch Griffiths (City Beach) 1.33pts.

State Champion: Josh Burke (Margaret River)

O/35 Masters:
1. Paul Paterson (City Beach) 14.66pts, 2. Alan Pavlinovich (Trigg) 13.84pts, 3. Paul Burke (Dunsborough) 9.66pts, 4. Todd Taylor (Yallingup) 8.83pts.

State Champion: Paul Paterson (City Beach)

O/40 Senior Masters:
1. Paul Paterson (City Beach) 11.66pts, 2. Alan Pavlinovich (Trigg) 8.66pts, 3. Paul Burke (Dunsborough) 9.90pts, 4.  Todd Taylor (Yallingup) 1.32pts.

State Champion: Jake Paterson (Yallingup)

O/45 Grand Masters:
1. Adrian Shepherd (Albany) 8.43pts, 2. Todd Taylor (Yallingup) 6.84pts, 3. Sheldon Spencer (Mandurah) 5.70pts.

State Champion: Todd Taylor (Yallingup)

O/50 Legends:
1. Sheldon Spencer (Mandurah) 9.16pts, 2. Adrian Shepherd (Albany) 7.00pts, 3. Ian Darby (North Beach) 6.30pts, 4. Tim Thirsk (Hillarys) 4.10pts.

State Champion: Adrian Shepherd (Alabny)

O/55 Kahunas: 
1. Ian Darby (North Beach) 6.30pts, 2. Tim Thirsk (Hillarys) 4.10pts.

State Champion: Ian Darby (North Beach)
The HIF Pro Am Series is a three round series that travels to Margaret River, Geraldton and Rottnest Island and is proudly supported by the Health Insurance Fund of Australia (HIF), SunSmart, Otis Eyewear, Creatures of Leisure, West Coast Suspension, Be the Influence Rottnest Express and 3D Fins.

Justin Majeks

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