Wednesday, August 31, 2011

National Alaia Title migrates South

Southsiders take franchise on new Alaia Australian Title

Cronulla-based surfer and more importantly, Sandshoes local, Matt ‘Cookie’ Cook almost pulled off a National Title last week when the first ever Alaia surfing champion was crowned at the 2011 Australian Surfing Festival in Port Macquarie on the mid-NSW North Coast.

Standing tall in Timberland; with their engineered organic lumber after the blue ribbon event:
the finalists in the inaugural Alaia National Titles. Including
Cronulla's Matty Cook [red rashie]
who managed a superb 2nd place in Port Macquarie.
First place went to Bondi's Barney Quinlan in the white rashie.
In an amazing era where pro surfers on the world tour now can score more points for maneuvers they perform in the air, [and not on the face of a wave] a growing group of enthusiastic surfers have propelled themselves back to surfing's most ancient wave riding roots.

Ian Bell of North Haven, NSW in sliding Alaia action.
Ian also won the Men's Single Fin National Title.
Photos Courtesy of Surfing Australia
Australian surfing history was cast in the surf at Port Macquarie last week, at the 2011 Australian Surfing Festival, where the first ever Australian Alaia champion was created and crowned.

Port's Town Beach provided the ideal arena for the maiden Alaia final, pumping out some great conditions for the traditional Hawaiian surfboards, almost fit for a king.

In the final, contested in clean 3ft waves, Bondi's Barney Quinlan etched [just couldn't save carved] his name in the record books, on his finless wooden form to trump runner-up, Matty Cook, of South Cronulla, [Sandshoes] NSW, and Ian Bell [North Haven, NSW], and Jarrad Davies [Margaret River, WA].

Bondi's Barney Quinlan holds aloft the first ever trophy
for Australian National Alaia Champion. While Cookie
[in red] is just stoked to be on the podium with 2nd place.
Barney Quinlan who competed in the final on a beautifully hand carved wooden Alaia, looked in sync with the traditional ancient art of surfing, which is finding its place in the Australian Surfing scene.

It seems this group of surfers are true, to use a cricketing term; 'all rounders' and very adaptive. Cookie normally rides long boards, short boards, single fins and Alaias.

The 5'10" Alaia that Cookie rode in the final, he lovingly hand tailored from Paulownia wood [an incredibly light hardwood] just the week before the contest and had never ridden the board prior to arriving in Port Macquarie.

Boosted by its new found popularity, Alaia surfing continues to grow in Australia and the addition to the 2011 Australian Surf Festival, sparked interest amongst spectators and competitors who witnessed the historical moment in Australian Surfing history.

Well done Cookie - holding the Cronulla flag high.


Watch a video with some highlights of the event...

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