After four year’s penance, Huey decided that 2010 was the year to return the Mollymook Longboarders Charity Classic to its rightful venue of Golf Course Reef for the annual event held on the weekend of 7/8 August.
The swell forecast was looking very promising early in the week, but by Friday afternoon, after two days of flat conditions, expectations had been somewhat deflated.
Even at 6:00AM on Saturday morning there were few waves breaking at Golfy, but after Neale Ashby ventured out in the early morning gloom and caught two waves in the first 5 minutes the contest director made the (correct) decision to give it a go, knowing (hoping) that the outgoing tide would improve conditions.
By 7:00AM as the first heat surfers paddled out, conditions had already started to improve, and despite a few lulls, the waves remained highly contestable and enjoyable for the whole of the weekend, with frequent sets of shoulder to head high waves, and light winds.
The 67 entries were down on previous years, but that allowed the organisers to programme more repechage heats, which this year saw every surfer surfing at least twice in their divisions of choice.
The smaller gathering also allowed an earlier finish on Sunday, which ensured that the finals were completed in the best conditions of the day.
Apart from the quality of waves, the Golfy venue is ideal for the activities associated with a contest, giving everyone a great perspective of the contest, and encouraging social interaction.
Laurie Andrew’s music added to the ambience, and at times could even be heard out in the line-up, even when the heat timing hooter was a bit difficult to pick up.
His Sunday morning selection of some classical pieces added a bit of culture to proceedings.
Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries particularly inspired a few apocalyptic memories for the 60+ brigade.
As usual the contest started with the Open 8 foot division.
Dean Cristallo scored a great win over Ray Lawrence in their heat with both progressing direct to semi-finals.
Lex Evans, Steve Rutten and Dan Rowlands also had wins.
Tim Hutton , who hadn’t surfed at a Classic for quite a few years was stoked to also progress direct to the semis along with Simon Cox.
In the Open 9 ft division, Ray Lawrence was the clear winner in his heat, but Josh Keogh from Merimbula was possibly the stand-out surfer of the heats, with Sean Chivers also giving his usual strong performance.
Jack Entwhistle, still a Junior, also progressed direct to the semis with a style that one of those who could remember likened to a junior Nat Young.
In a warm-up for the Over 60s division David Pimm finished a very competitive third in his heat of the Open 9s.
Paul Hoyer, who came third in his heat, had by far the longest nose ride of the contest with a seemingly endless ride, which inspired cheering from the spectators.
The age divisions were changed for 2010 following representation from the Over 60s to have a separate division.
Answering to that description, the contest director readily agreed and so the divisions were changed to Over 40, Over 50 and Over 60.
The Over 40s had 20 entries with two reserves and was the most competitive of the divisions.
In the heats Sean Dry surfed powerfully to a win, and together with Sean Chivers looked to be the ones to beat.
Local surfer Keith Purvis also surfed well to edge out Dean Cristallo and progress direct to the semis.
The Over 50s with nine entries was perhaps a bit under-represented, but certainly not lacking in enthusiasm.
John Skinner was the stand-out performer in the heats, winning clearly from Greg Furmage a recent émigré to Mollymook.
Mike Giggs was the other heat winner.
The Over 60s division was also closely contested with four previous division winners surfing.
The first heat coincided with one of the wave lulls, but Dave Pimm (as usual) and Dave Wilson managed to get the best of the waves on offer, and progressed to the final. In the second heat, Laurie Andrew and Will Maris, riding his new “Black Beauty”, both progressed to the final.
In the Juniors Jack Entwhistle was the stand-out, winning his heat from Jake Bevan.
The second heat contained two girls, and State Under 18 Womens Champion Erin Dark had a win over April Charles, leaving the boys in trail.
The Womens and Old Mal divisions each with only five entries were programmed to have a surf on both days, with the results from each heat added to determine the winner.
Erin Dark surfed strongly to win the Saturday Womens heat, from Bernie Murphy with April Charles third.
Jake Bevan styled to a win in the Old Mal heat from Lex Evans who was riding one of Dave Wilson’s classic restored boards.
The final heats on Saturday were the Over 40 repechage heats.
Fortunately as it turned out, Robert Couriel was a beneficiary of the rep heats and progressed to the semis along with Jack Daniels, Phil Jersa and Paul Rutten.
On Sunday morning, once again, the wave conditions at 6:30AM were problematic at Golfy, but in another benefit-of-the-doubt decision, the contest director again elected to set up at Golfy.
Almost immediately after the decision had been made, a 4 foot plus set rolled through to the hoots of competitors.
With an off-shore wind, conditions could not have been much better; perhaps just a bit warmer.
After two repechage heats in the Over 50s and Juniors, the semis got underway with the Open 8 foot.
Dean Cristallo continued his Saturday form and clearly won the first semi from Sean Dry who had progressed through the rep heats.
Ray Lawrence won the second semi from Rhys Williams who had also progressed through the rep heats.
The Open 9 foot semis were next, with Ray Lawrence clearly winning the first, and Jack Entwhistle the second.
Josh Keogh who probably had a winning lead at the time in the second semi had an interference call and unfortunately was eliminated.
This elevated local Over 40s surfer Phil Jersa into the final.
In the Over 40’s semis, Robert Couriel was the winner from Sean Dry in the first, and Sean Chivers had a win over Dean Cristallo in the second.
In the second heat of the Old Mals, the results from Saturday were repeated, with Lex Evans, after repairs to his back overnight, again coming second to Jake Bevan In the second heat of the Womens, Bernie Murphy had a win over Erin Dark, but in the countback over the two heats, Erin was a narrow overall winner.
The finals got underway just after 10:00AM with the Open 8 footers.
In great conditions, with the right hander also working well, Ray Lawrence overturned the heat result to beat Dean Cristallo and veteran grommet John Skinner.
In the Juniors, Jack Entwhistle was a clear winner over Jake Bevan.
The Over 60s final was next with probably the best waves of the finals even though they were less consistent.
Riding his 10 foot cruiser Laurie Andrew had a rare win over Dave Pimm with Will Maris third.
Conditions began to deteriorate a little after the Over 60s final with an increasing sea breeze, but fortunately the swell hung in until the end The Over 50s final saw John Skinner the clear winner, with a tussle for second between Greg Furmage and Mike Griggs.
The Over 40s final was a battle between Robert Couriel, Sean Chivers and Dean Cristallo, with Robert a narrow winner, and giving thanks to the repechage format.
The standard in this final was a spectacle for the on-lookers with hoots for some almost unbelievable floating reos.
The Open 9 foot final was the last heat of the contest, and as usual produced some outstanding surfing.
Ray Lawrence, using great wave selection, was the clear winner with the highest scoring ride of the contest.
The battle for second place was between Robert Smith, Dan Rowlands and Jack Entwhistle, with Robert scoring the second highest wave score in the final taking second place.
Head Judge at the contest again was Graham Sorensen, with Stephen Pinnington tallying all the heat results.
This combination again added considerable status to the contest, and ensured that progress on both days was smooth and uncontroversial.
A large part of the success and atmosphere at the contest was due to the untiring efforts of Sue and Will Maris who managed the food tent.
They organised the supply of most of the food, and carried out much of the preparation.
They were more than capably assisted at various times by Chrissy Spillane, Soula McCarthy, Paul Hoyer, Ken Peek, Toni Wilson, and guest volunteer, Lyndon from Manly.
A number of club members generously provided home-made cakes for sale.
President Carrey (Yeah Baby) schmoozed groups of the congregation at various times on both days, adding to the laid back atmosphere.
As in all previous years, the contest would not have been the success it was without the support of Southern Man Surfshop Ulladulla, and Kent Saunders.
Once again the range of contestant prizes was amazing.
Ken Peek again donated a Crest 8 foot surfboard, as did Global Surf Industries (a McTavish 8 Ball), both of which were auctioned at the presentation ceremony.
Ken’s Company, Australian Engineering Sales and Service, together with Keith Purvis Podiatry also made cash donations to the contest.
Greg McCarthy and Oceanart again provided a framed photograph for the auction.
Thanks are also due to Nicole Purvis and Boudoir of Milton, which provide prizes in the women’s division, IGA Mollymook, and Boost Mobile which provided the first and second prize in the Junior division.
Competitor prizes were generously donated by Balin, Peak Wetsuits, Rip Curl, Xcel, Far King Wax, Creatures of Leisure, Dragon, Quiksilver, Globe, Billabong, Von Zipper, Element, Oakley, and Roxy.
Proceeds from the contest are donated to local charities and community groups.
2010 results, from first place:
Open Nine-foot: Ray Lawrence, Robert Smith, Dane Rowlands, Jack Entwhistle.
Juniors: Jack Entwhistle, Jake Bevan.
Over 60s: Laurie Andrew, Dave Pimm, Will Maris.
Over 50s: John Skinner, Greg Furmage, Mike Griggs.
Over 40s: Robert Couriel, Sean Chivers, Dean Cristallo.
Eight-footers: Ray Lawrence, Dean Cristallo, John Skinner.
Womens: Erin Dark, Bernie Murphy.