Rasta Wins 2013 Single Fin Classic
Dave “Rasta” Rastovich has won the Open division of the 16th annual Billabong Burleigh Single Fin Festival, trumping an incredible field of 96 surfers that included the who’s-who of Gold Coast surfing talent.
Stars like former ASP World Champion Mark Occhilupo, world number two Luke Egan, reigning world Junior Champion Jack Freestone, junior standout Thomas Woods, Wade Goodall and West Australian ripper Creed McTaggert lined up alongside local legends and Burleigh Boardriders champions – all surfing pre 1985 made single fin boards in classic Burleigh conditions.
Surfers traded barrels throughout the unique two-day event, thanks to a pulsing east swell generated from a pressure system situated in the Coral Sea. Wave after wave turned inside-out over the ruler-edge sand bank running the length of the famous point and hundreds of spectators took up position under the pandanus palms and enjoyed two free, live sets by famed Aussie blues musician, Ash Grunwald.
There were plenty of perfect-10 point rides handed out by the judges with Soli Bailey (Byron Bay), Jack Lewis and Jack Freestone among those locking in perfect scores. But it was grommet Noah Deane who stole the show, registering a perfect heat – 20 out of 20 – thanks to two tens in his quarter-final showing.
The Open final was decided by less than a point, with Rastovich just edging out Freestone, who finished second ahead of Noa Deane, Noah Lane, Woods and Anthony Pols.
Rastovich received his first place prize, a coveted gleaming, hand-shaped single fin made by master craftsman, Dick Van Straalan.
“It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to come down and pull out these old relics and have a lot of fun on the point. I want to thank Dirk for shaping the incredible board. He’s like a second dad to me and one of the legends of the culture. Looking at the board, wow, what an absolute gem!” said Rastovich, before giving a nod to the next generation.
“I grew up in the area and moved away about ten or 12 years ago and I really miss the headland and the community. To come back and see the amount of grommets here – that semi final and final display from the groms was amazing. It’s so great and it’s important to have events like this and to keep inspiring them to do what they’re doing,” added Rastovich.
Fittingly, the Burleigh Single Fin festival culminated on the same day the break was officially recognised by the organisation, National Surfing Reserve (NSR).
“You travel around the world and see that there is only one Burleigh and this is a place to protect. Everyone here is doing a great job and has the responsibility to continue to help preserve and protect the area,” said Rastovich.
An incredible collection of vintage single-fin surfboards were on display across the weekend; sourced from the Gold Coast’s Surf World museum and various private collections.
Contestants either rode their own boards, or shared their equipment with others.
Former world number two and Newcastle transplant, Luke Egan, rode a board his dad, Sam, shaped in 1978. Egan discovered the board and bought it at auction 15 years ago.
Billabong’s Shannon North took to the waves on a very special model – the actual craft pioneering Gold Coast surfer Joe Engel rode in the seminal film “Storm Riders”, which was released in 1982 and featured Engel surfing a new discovery - the perfect right hand break of Nias, located in North Sumatra.
Another popular model was a six-channel model shaped by legendary Novacastrian, Col Smith, for his son Rique.
In all, dozens of boards lay strewn on the grass for people to pick up and check out – a tactile representation of surfing’s design evolution and the pioneers who rode them.
“Because of the boards and the way they perform, it forces everyone to slow down and focus more on the wave. It becomes less about high-performance, technical surfing. And it’s so great to see some of the young kids riding these boards, there’s junior surfers riding equipment that is three times their own age,” said Rastovich.
It’s the 16 year the event has run, and it maintains a vibe and authenticity like no other.
Burleigh Boardriders President, Edward Lindores: “People come up and say, this event is big enough to have grand stands and I go, ‘Nup, we want to keep it retro, old-school’, we don’t want that crap, we want to keep it like it is. Everyone enjoying themselves, looking over each other’s shoulders, cruising on the grass. That’s why it’s such a good event. People get close, they talk, they hang out – friends, family – we don’t want infrastructure. We do it for the community of Burleigh - brothers, sisters, friends, mums, dads, grommets, cats, dogs, that’s what we want …”
The Burleigh Boardrider’s fundraiser lunch on Friday was a hysterical affair, thanks to the wit and wisecracks of funny-man host, Freddo Lang, and the spontaneity of special guest “Robbo” from Channel 9s The Footy Show.
The pair traded barbs and interviewed sports stars including Nathan Bock and Jarrad Brennan (Gold Coast Suns), Dave ‘the Coal Train’ Taylor (Gold Coast Titans), and newly crowned ASP Men’s World Surfing Champion and Billabong rider, Joel Parkinson.
Parkinson said he’d been taking it easy after his dramatic win at Pipeline in December and his hugely anticipated return to the Gold Coast has seen a non-stop flow of well-wishers and fans congratulating him at every turn.
“I think I’ve maybe had two days off,” said Parkinson. “There’s been so many people popping round to say ‘well done’, some mates I haven’t seen for ages who just knock on the door with a case of beer, going ‘You did it!’. You just can’t say no, you know?”
“I’ve had a couple surfs too, I’ve been out at Snapper and D’Bah, the waves have been fun. It’s what I do. You can’t keep me out of the water,” he said, before adding that the serious pre-season training begins again from Monday.
Some very special memorabilia items were auctioned during the fundraiser lunch, with monies raised going towards junior surfing development program within Burleigh Boardriders and the “White Christmas Fund”, supported by the Gold Coast Suns.
An Andrew Johns signed Newcastle Knights jersey that was signed by the test captain as a gift to legendary Aussie surfer, Michael Petersen, sold for $500.
A personally signed competition jersey Parkinson wore during the Billabong Pipe Masters in Hawaii sold for $3,400.
The highest bids were for one of Parkinson’s surfboards, ridden at stop 9 on the 2012 ASP Men’s World Tour, the O’Neill Coldwater Classic at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California, which sold for an impressive $4,200.
This year’s Burleigh Single Fin Festival was dedicated to the late, Gold Coast local and Aussie surfing legend, Michael Peterson. Peterson’s mother, Joan, was a guest of honour.
FINAL RESULTS - 16th Annual Billabong Burleigh Single Fin Festival
1st Dave Rastovich (wins brand new, hand-shaped Dick Van Straalan single fin)
2nd Jack Freestone
3rd Noa Deane
4th Noah Lane
5th Thomas Woods
6th Anthony Pols
1st Luke Hynd
2nd Luke Gyory
3rd Lachlan Garland
4th Maddy Job
5th Liam O’Brien
6th Taj Prasad
Best Barrel – Noa Deane
Spirit of The Single Fin Festival – Matty Job
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