Coffs Boardriders survive scare to battle on
THE Coffs Harbour Boardriders club are through to the final of the biggest grassroots surfing tournament despite some tense moments at Gallows yesterday.
Competing for a place in the Nudie Australian Boardriders Battle final, Coffs Harbour went close to being knocked out in Heat 2 when a rushed score in the final ride by veteran Lee Winkler left the hometown favourites with an anxious wait.
Winkler posted a 3.3 to lock Coffs Harbour on 27.36 and despite having comfortably led almost the entire heat, suddenly Cabarita and Kingscliff were in with a shout.
While it seemed like an age before the judges posted the final scores, in the end Cabarita fell agonisingly short of a mighty upset and just 0.19 points separated them from the home side in second place, leaving Coffs and Kingscliff to face Byron and Le Ba (Lennox Head - Ballina) in the main event.
The close call galvanised the hosts who got off to a strong start in the NSW North Final and fought what effectively became a two horse race with Le Ba.
Le Ba Boardriders Club ultimately came out on top edging Coffs Harbour by just 1.36 points.
Kingscliff and Byron Bay fought out their own battle for the third and final qualifying spot but in the end Byron, who trailed for much of the final, left their run too late and missed out by 1.4 points.
Local gun Rosie Smart won the Oakley Prism Performer Award for the standout surfer of the competition for her huge effort during the semi-final.
Le Ba, Coffs Harbour and Kingscliff will all head down to Newcastle for the Boardriders Battle next year, making up the North Coast contingent among 24 clubs from around Australia.