“If you can’t dance then you sure as hell can’t longboard,” LoggerHeads Malibu Classic scoring manager Daffy Chisholm said.
The 33rd year of competition kicked off this morning in Scotts Head with the thirteen divisions of surfers performing their aquatic two-step across the weekend.
Visitors from as far as Victoria and Western Australia are enjoying the perfect weather conditions and natural eye-candy that the Valley has on offer.
“This is a huge social event for Australian longboarders, it’s like a gathering of the tribes,” competition organiser Barry Jago said.
“There are trophies, but no prizes, which keeps things nice and casual.”
But you’d be mistaken for thinking that competition wasn’t tight, with many ex-national champions dropping in on the day’s heats.
One champion competing this weekend is Gomeroi man Tom ‘Waraba’ Avery who holds the Indigenous longboard title.
“My dad gave me the name Waraba which means turtle because I was always slow on the land but so fast in the water,” Waraba said.
“I came down here from Bundjalung country this morning to escape Splendour in The Grass, and look at where I am now-the most beautiful place on earth, healing my soul with my two loves: music and surfing.”
Mike Neunuebel has come all the way from Denmark, WA for the competition and was thrilled to place first in his heat in the under 50s division.
“I’m stoked. I’m on a roll,” Mike said.
“I got up there today and I did a few headstands. I don’t know if it’s kosher round here; it’s a bit tricky, but it’s my style anyway.
“As an old boy, getting upside down and vertical on a wave then doing it all over again is pretty impressive, I think.”
Surfers are scored on their best two rides in a twenty minute set and are marked on board control and range of skilled manoeuvres like cut-backs (direction changing), re-entries (climbing to the wave tip) and nose-riding (walking to the front end of the board).
“Anyone that can apply those manoeuvres in a continual motion are the cream of the crop here,” Daffy said.
And there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of cream.
“Some of these guys have been surfing for 50, 60 years. Right here on the 5-person judging panel we’ve got over 300 years in collective surfing experience, and that’s being passed on to the next generation right now,” Daffy said.
The more traditional longboard culture is having a second halcyon with surfers in this weekend’s competition ranging from 12 to 70 plus years.
“I think it’s more fun on a longboard,” competitor Lyn Donnelly said.
“It’s smoother, the walking-style is great, you can get up pretty easily, and you can ride smaller surf.”
The swell and crowd is expected to build over the next two days as finals kick off.
The Scotts Head markets are also on this Saturday from 8am to 1:30pm at the Village Green.