This week the Australian slalom, freerace and freestyle windsurf nationals are taking place on Green Island which is 40km off Cairns. Competitors have come from all over Australia and New Caledonia for the event which is looking to deliver strong winds all week. So far the forecast is proving spot on as day 1 delivers perfect conditions to kick off the freestyle and freerace disciplines. Check out the official event report below and our top 10 gallery (pics - Billy Craig). Be sure to tune back in tomorrow for action from day 2.
With the first ferry laden with sailors arriving on the island at 9.30am, greeted with perfect sunny and windy conditions, the Australian Freestyle Championships kicked off at 10.30am with a single elimination being completed across the course of the day for the 8 freestylers registered for competition.
Al Bentley, the Englishmen who is now based in Australia, took the win in the first elimination holding out Steve Flack from Victoria and the current Australian Wavesailing Champion Ben Severne from Western Australia. In the final, Steve was able to pull a switch chachoo, with Ben landing some flakas and switch spock 540’s but Al dominated with some shakas, burners and a culo.
After the freestyle wrapped up, the Freerace division started, with sailors given a 1-hour window to record either the fastest average speed, or longest distance sailed. The wind continued to blow for the entire afternoon allowing the majority of the slalom fleet to also compete in the Freeride division to log their best times on their GPS units. With the extremely low tide in the afternoon, a perfect speed-strip was shaped along the reefs close to the island, making the water very flat and clear – just the right conditions for maximum speed.
By 4.30pm the sailors were back on the ferry home to the mainland to finish the day at the Salt House for some much needed food (and drinks). The first day of slalom racing kicks off tomorrow from 10am with a multitude of international sailors from New Caledonia and as far as Martinique ready to do battle to become the 2013 Australian Slalom Champion. Another perfect forecast of 20 knots should greet the sailors straight off the boat.
1 – Al Bentley
2 – Steve Flack
3 – Ben Severne
4 – Max Ploumis
5 – James McCarthy-Price
6 – Will Johnston
7 (tie) – Ben Newson
7 (tie) – Luke Baillie