Human has again expressed its support of Australia's richest bodyboarding event this year by adding an additional $5,000 AUD to the original prize purse of $45,000 AUD making it the most lucrative bodyboarding event in the Southern Hemisphere. With first prize now set at $20,000 AUD it marks a new era in the sport of bodyboarding with the lucrative first prize now being the biggest single cheque to be handed to a winner in the history of the sport.
For the first time in the event history the format has been over hauled. For the past years the riders have been judged on their best two waves from each heat with the rider accumulating the highest score from two rounds deemed the winner. For 2005 the format will be elimination. For the first round, only the top 2 riders from a heat of four will progress straight to the quarter finals. First round will be eight heats of four, with 16 progressing to quarter finals on day two of competition. This will set day two of the event as one of the most exciting days ever as for the first time the CSIC winner will be announced on the headland.
Derek Hulme (Technical Director) - "We have tried all different types of scenario's to try to do double elimination format for the riders to give them more time in the water, but the bottom line is time. Double elimination will run into a third day, limiting our chances of concluding the event at Shark Island. By running with a single elimination we can run the event in two days, giving organisers and the riders in the main event a better chance of running heats and most importantly the Quarters, Semi's and Final at Shark Island. Having the elimination format will bring the best out in all the main event riders, especially knowing that if they do not perform they will be automatically knocked out. I am sure that having the $20,000 AUD first prize will only make the athlete's go harder, thus making it a great event for the public on the day. It's a winner for the event and the sport. Having a clear cut winner at the end of day two will make for an exciting day of bodyboarding."
The now $50,000 AUD Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge will gather the world's best bodyboarders, including current and 2 x World Champion Damian King (Australia), defending event champion Guilherme Tamega (Brazil), Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard, Australian's Sean Virtue and Mitch Rawlins who, along with the rest of the International field will now be battling it out for the $20,000 AUD first prize cheque.
IBA Men's World Champion, Damian King, winner of the 2005 Rockstar Games Maui Pro at which he took out his second consecutive World Title would have to be seen as one of the favourites. Taking out the last event at Honolua Bay in January King is keen to continue his dominating form.
Damian King (Aust) - "It's great to see a cheque for $20,000 AUD being put up, Human have been such a great supporter of bodyboarding, not just in Australia but on a global scale. Other big companies should take note, bodyboarding has just taken the next step. My schedule has been pretty full on of late, though I have been surfing quiet a lot and training heaps. This year's event should be a cracker."
Guilherme Tamega (Brz) - "Since the last event in Maui I have just been hanging out in Hawaii with my wife, we are expecting our first child in June. I have been training a lot and scoring some unbelievable late season waves", explained Tamega. "With the $20,000 AUD up for first place its going to be crazy, I will definitely be wearing a helmet this year for sure, I am going to go sick so everyone be aware."
The 26 day waiting period enables the organizers to select the optimum wave and weather conditions at the Australia's most famous bodyboarding wave - Shark Island, considered by many as one of the heaviest reef breaks in the world. Shark Island is renowned for its thick end section the infamous Surge, breaking on a shallow sandstone shelf, incrusted with cunje and sharp gouging barnacles that leaves any unlucky competitor that bounces of the reef with a good flogging to remember. Waves reach heights of up to 8 -10 ft, as the wave jacks up on the reef it seems to have a mind of its own. Often defying gravity, the pitching lip or curl of the wave can be up to 4ft thick.
Its victims are never in control, the island makes all the moves. As the wave wraps and bends down the reef, the face of the wave becomes littered with lumps and steps from the shallows contour of the reef, just inches below the waters surface. It's only the determination and skill of the competitor that will define a true champion.
Many a local and competitor will stand by the old saying - Shark Island always has the final say. The question is who will step up for the challenge in 2005?
Prize Money breakdown >>>
1st - $20,000
2nd - $10,000
3rd - $5,000
4th - $2,500
2 x 5th - $800
2 x 7th - $550
8th - 32nd - $400
The Wildcard entrants will consist of six Cronulla Shark Island locals. Wildcards for the event have been given out to the following athletes:
Christian Riguccini - Australia
Dave Ballard - Australia
Alex Leon - Australia
Ryan McKinnon - Australia
Sponsors Wildcards (Human)
John Showell - Australia
Doug Showell - Australia
Additional prizes include;-
Best Barrel award - A boat trip to the Mentawai Islands donated by Surf Travel Co + $1000 USD from Endless
Best Move award - A boat trip to the Mentawai Islands donated by Surf Travel Co + $1000 USD from Endless
The Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge (July 6th - July 31st).
Competitors for The Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge are as follows
Top 24 Competitors
1 G.TAMEGA - Brazil
2 A.LESTER - Australia
3 S.VIRTUE - Australia
4 J.HUBBARD - Hawaii
5 B.DAY - Australia
6 H.PINHEIRO - Portugal
7 R.HARDY - Australia
8 D.KING - Australia
9 U.VALADAO - Brazil
10 G.MILLER - Australia
11 T.PLAYER - Australia
12 M.STEWART - Hawaii
13 M.CHAPPLE - Australia
14 J.KIRKMAN - Australia
15 M.RAWLINS - Australia
16 D.WINCHESTER - Australia
17 E.TABARE - Argentina
18 C.DEFUARE - France
19 - 26 (Top 8 riders from the trials)
27 C.RIGUCCINI- Australia
28 D.BALLARD- Australia
29 A.LEON - Australia
30 R.McKINNON - Australia
31 J.SHOWELL - Australia
32 D.SHOWELL - Australia
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The now $50,000 AUD Human Cronulla Shark Island Challenge will gather the world's best bodyboarders, including current and 2 x World Champion Damian King (Australia), defending event champion Guilherme Tamega (Brazil) and Hawaiian Jeff Hubbard
Its victims are never in control, the island makes all the moves.
"It's great to see a cheque for $20,000 AUD being put up, Human have been such a great supporter of bodyboarding, not just in Australia but on a global scale. Other big companies should take note, bodyboarding has just taken the next step."