Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro

25 Mar 2007 0 Share

Stormy conditions greeted competitors for the final day of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro at Soldiers Beach

Stormy conditions greeted competitors for the final day of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro at Soldiers Beach

Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro: Kai Otton (Aus) and Nathan Hedge (Aus) are rugged up but ready to go for an intense final day of competition

Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro: Kai Otton (Aus) and Nathan Hedge (Aus) are rugged up but ready to go for an intense final day of competition

The judges at the Miss Hot Tuna model search had a hard time determining the winner!

The judges at the Miss Hot Tuna model search had a hard time determining the winner!

Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro: Julian Wilson (Aus) preps up for his round of 32 heat and will be looking to post another strong WQS result

Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro: Julian Wilson (Aus) preps up for his round of 32 heat and will be looking to post another strong WQS result

Tim Boal (Fra) advanced into the Quarter Finals of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro after landing some huge turns in the large messy conditions

Tim Boal (Fra) advanced into the Quarter Finals of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro after landing some huge turns in the large messy conditions

Kieren Perrow (Aus) surfed aggressively and reveled in the bigger surf on offer for the final day of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro to easily progress into the Quarter Finals

Kieren Perrow (Aus) surfed aggressively and reveled in the bigger surf on offer for the final day of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro to easily progress into the Quarter Finals

Jarrad Howse (Aus) landed this huge re-entry but it was not enough as he was eliminated in round eight of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro

Jarrad Howse (Aus) landed this huge re-entry but it was not enough as he was eliminated in round eight of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro

Jordy Smith (Zaf) knows how to handle big surf and was in impressive form easily winning through to the Quarter Finals of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro

Jordy Smith (Zaf) knows how to handle big surf and was in impressive form easily winning through to the Quarter Finals of the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro

One of the contestants in the Miss Hot Tuna Model search walks down the catwalk

One of the contestants in the Miss Hot Tuna Model search walks down the catwalk

Glen Hall (Aus) was the highest placed local/central coast surfer in the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro finishing a very credible =17th

Glen Hall (Aus) was the highest placed local/central coast surfer in the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro finishing a very credible =17th

Hot Tuna Pro: Jordy Smith takes his first big ASP WQS win at Soldiers Beach today!

Hot Tuna Pro: Jordy Smith takes his first big ASP WQS win at Soldiers Beach today!

REINING Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world junior champion Jordy Smith stormed the surf at Soldiers Beach today to become the 2007 Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro champion.

The South African scraped past Brazilian Neco Padaratz by less than a point to post his maiden victory in a World Qualifying Series contest.

The 19-year-old surfed through five different heats in wild and windswept conditions today.

He said the win is his most significant achievement since he won the world junior championship in January and came second to Joel Parkinson at the World Cup of Surfing at Hawaii's Sunset Beach last December.

"This is a really big win for me here today. I am looking to qualify for the World Tour for 2008 so this is a great boost for my confidence and ambitions," he said.

"It was pretty wild out there but we get lots of waves like that back home so it was fine. I like the bigger stuff," he said.

Smith, whose parents Graham and Luellen were watching their son surf via the internet at their home in Umbilo in Durban , immediately paid tribute to his Mum and Dad for their belief and support.

Brazilian Padaratz, who posted the day's second highest wave score (9.33) in the round of 16, had nothing but praise for the young man who edged him out from standing alone on the winner's podium.

"Jordy has grown up so quickly and his body is just very powerful. He can paddle so quickly.

"I am very happy for him to get this win because we are friends anyway," Padaratz said.

Padaratz also paid tribute to his Grandmother, who sadly passed away during the week while he was surfing in the competition here.

"Everything I have, everything I know and the strength I have needed these past few years is all down to her," Padaratz said in a touching speech while accepting his cheque for second place.

Durban-raised Smith started his blasting performances at this contest with the big names from the ASP World Tour in the round of 64.

Today's win here saw Smith take the weekend double.

Yesterday, Smith won the Tooheys Dry Expression Session to clearly demonstrate he is capable of high performance, futuristic surfing and today he demonstrated he has the ability to transfer thoise skills to the game where the best two scores count.

The six foot two inch Smith is widely regarded by astute observers as South Africa 's best hope for a world title since 1977, when Shaun Tomson became the only man from that country to ever don the elite crown.

Smith overcame rolling mountains of whitewater that moved in from the horizon and bludgeoned unfortunately positioned surfers throughout the day's finals. His duckdiving and ability to emerge from the foam gave him a distinct advantage.

Many surfers contesting today's heats became victims of the most intense hold downs yet seen on the Australian leg of the 2007 professional tour.

Rhys Bombaci from Kiama on the New South Wales (NSW) south coast and France's Tim Boal and were the other finalists and took third and fourth positions respectively.

The predicted southerly that blew along the NSW coast last night generated a storm swell that greeted early morning arrivals with two to three metre waves that were predominantly right handers.

Releasing its ferocious blow not long after dark last night, the storm blew the contest site apart and only quick action by the onsite crew ensured minimal damage to temporary structures erected for the contest.

Less than 12 hours earlier, the ocean had resembled an inland lake and had forced organisers to abandon the heats scheduled for the Hot Tuna Pro on Saturday.

Event Director Peter Hunt from Surfing NSW said the variety of conditions experienced during the contest provided a real test of a surfer's versatility.

"Surfers at this level of ability much prefer big stormy waves like those we had today rather than the ankle tappers that caused us to delay proceedings yesterday afternoon

"The Hot Tuna Central Coast P

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