Round 1 of the South Australian Schools Team Surfing Championships got underway early on Friday 2 March. Twenty-four schools from both regional SA and Adelaide were greeted at Middleton Point by the welcome sight of highly contestable clean 2 – 4 ft surf with an offshore breeze. The offshores persisted all day and the swell only slowly abated, making for a great day of waves and competition.
Under a new national team surfing format that has been rolled out across the states for 2018, the Open boys were the first Investigator College students to surf for the day. Yr 12 student Tyson Furniss has been representing the College in surfing since he was in Year 7 and has been selected into the South Australian team on two occasions. With Year 11 student Shay Thompson making up their Open team, the lads got off to an excellent start to their day with wins in their first and second heats. Making their way through the quarter and semi finals, their momentum was only stopped in the final by some outstanding surfing by the two students from Yorketown Area School, which saw Tyson and Shay finish Round 1 with a second placing. Our Open girls, represented by Jai Smart and Dimity Payne, surfed outstandingly well in challenging conditions in Middleton Bay. With the surf so good, there was a lot of recreational surfers in the water which made it at times difficult to find an unridden wave. Nevertheless Jai and Dimity surfed their way into the final and also finished in second position.
Our U16 surfers, Judd O’Donnell and Ryan Smart, had to wait until heat 7 before they surfed. They judged the first two heats of the Open boys and had time to view how other surfers handled the conditions and the new surfing format. With a master plan worked out with Ryan surfing first, he paddled out through the Middleton Point keyhole in good time and was able to catch three waves. Under the new format, a heat has four teams comprised of two surfers. Each surfer is only able to catch a maximum of five waves in their heat with their highest scoring wave combined with the highest scoring wave of the second surfer in the team to create a total score. One of the big challenges is for the team to manage the heat time of 20 minutes. Only one of the surfers is able to be surfing at a time with the second surfer remaining on the beach until the first indicates that they are coming in after either catching the maximum five waves or catching what they believe will be one or two high scoring waves. In the U16 boys, following Ryan, Judd then had eight minutes remaining in his heat to try and catch a decent scoring wave. Unfortunately the ocean was not cooperating and unravelled the boys’ master plan by presenting Judd with eight minutes of close outs to contend with. Both boys are very good surfers but were unlucky in their heat and did not progress.
Round 2 is on Friday 18 May. We wish our team all the best!