It’s been at least 5 Years in Australia since we have seen a surf race. For some reason it just stopped happening. I’m not sure if it was due to low numbers or insurance issues, but I’m glad it’s back. What a great day; the Queensland Personal Watercraft Club held their first Surf Round at Munjimba Beach on the Sunshine Coast. To me, surf racing is the most technical and exiting form of watercraft racing, with the track continually changing. You have to judge the waves perfectly and timing is paramount. Also, having the courage to hit the back of the waves without hesitation to prevent you from plowing into the sand if you get it wrong. There’s always a high chance a rider can come unstuck and see their ski wash up on the beach if it doesn’t sink first.
Well, at Mujimba there was a bit of carnage. I saw a FZS upside down and a 310 Kawasaki with its noise in the sand, as well as a couple of ghost riders crossing the line. The action was a plenty with a good size swell and plenty of shore break to keep the racing interesting. With some riders dusting off the cobwebs for this event it was a great turnout – more than the usual QPWC closed course rounds. Even the local freeride club, the Sunshine Coast Jetski Club, turned up and gave a demo of what they can do. It was great to see such a mixture of riders at a club event.
Seeing as no one has raced for a while there was plenty of new comers to the event. Only 4 riders had ever surf raced before, so plenty of supervision and guidance was on hand. A few basic ground rules were made clear so everyone understood safety was paramount. The day began with Sport class, a mixture of ‘Blasters and Sparks. This was always going to be interesting as its old meets new. With a couple of the ‘Blasters running triples it evened up the competition. Justin Windsor was the man to beat on his Yamaha. He was one of the riders that had competed in a surf race before and you could tell, he was on fire. Not just on the ‘Blaster but he also rode in the Ski round on his SuperJet. It’s a great effort just to compete let alone take the win on both classes.
Some of the other class stand outs were Bailey Cunningham racing his Sea-Doo Spark and his RXT-X 300. The kid only just graduated high school and is a up and coming star. For someone that had never raced in the ocean before, he did great taking first place in Amateur Stock. Bailey is also talented on the closed course track, with a few wins under his belt.
Another first timer was Frank Waite; the local jet ski mechanic was consistent and patient. He wasn’t getting the best of starts so he was always on the hunt. Chasing down QPWC president Tim O’Neill and Brett Douglas was a challenge. Brett was on fire until he misjudged a wave on the way in and sunk the big Kawasaki like a submarine. At one point I thought it wasn’t coming back up. Tim just didn’t have the stamina to keep young Frank at bay and got piped at the post about 300-feet from the finish line.
The class that everyone was keen watch was Open Runabout with Mitch Wayt, Breandon Boyd, Christian D’Agostin, and Shane Stuart. Shane hasn’t competed for a while so it was good to see him on the water again, riding his FZS like he had never been away. Christian, a tried-and-tested rough water champion, was keen to get some laps under his belt in preparation for this year’s Kings Cup in which he’ll be competing. Unfortunately, his ski had a couple of gremlins that prevented him from taking the win from Mitch.
Mitch is also heading to the Kings Cup to compete. If his ride this weekend has anything to show, he’ll been a rider the others should be wary of. He is a natural on a runabout and was giving everyone on the beach a great show, keeping the throttle pinned all the way to the beach. I don’t know how he hung on, my wrists would have snapped for sure. Brendon Boyde was another rider that was exhilarating to watch. His Hulk-inspired Sea-Doo is an awesome machine and he can ride it like he’s the green man himself. Mitch and Brendan had some great battles right up until Brendan had his lanyard pull out in the surf, pushing him onto the beach. A quick and frantic yell to his helpers had him up and racing again. Unfortunately for Brendan, it nearly cost him a lap, bringing Mitch within 100-feet of lapping him. No way was Brendan going to let that happen, and he kept the hammer down until the finish.
What a great day on the beach! Beautiful weather, awesome action and good friends. Who could ask for more. I’d like to thank all the events staff and volunteers. Without all your support none of us could participate in the sport we love. Here are your podium winners and classes: Sports/Spark: 1. Justin Windsor, 2. Joel Batt, 3. Luke Hudson; Amateur Stock: 1. Bailey Cunningham, 2. Gary Zaradie, 3. Jamie Eade; Expert Runabout Stock: 1. Frank Waite, 2. Brett Douglas, 3. Tim O’Neill; Ski: 1. Justin Windsor, 2. Jordan O’Keeffe, 3. Clyde Grant; Open Runabout: 1. Mitch Wayt, 2. Christian D’Agostin, 3. Shane Stuart