No, The Chloe Byron contest is about what I saw today at Bondi with a group of people I am glad to call friends.
It is that Aloha spirit.
It helps us lift above the tragedy that was, and celebrate life, love and friendship in a uniquely Australian way. That is, to simply to have fun with one another, yet still share a sombre moment all at the same time. Hopefully it is this spirit that helps lift the Byron family, even if only for a short period of time.
Many people gave selflessly of their time today and each one takes a piece of that spirit home with them and this makes them a winner.
Yes we competed, ate, danced and generally enjoyed each others frivolities but that is just our way of showing great respect for a valued member of our community who is no longer there to participate.
May we always share our grief as well as our joy with one another.
And so to the contest. Well Huey obviously had a heavy date the night before because he woke up with a hangover and forgot to turn off the rain, wind and sludgey surf. Conditions were less than ideal but what the hell, there was a contest to be run.
Tents were hoisted, money exchanged hands and the usual whingeing about heat draws ensued.
A smaller than usual offering of participants (due to weather) was thrust upon the Marshals who soon whipped them into 9 mens heats, 2 womens heats and a junior final.
The clocked ticked over to 8am and the foghorn blasted away (not Greg, the real foghorn). Again, the youngsters pitted themselves against the old Bondi faithful to produce some close finishes in the seaweed strewn conditions. The going was tough and Tim Pearson commented that a second heart attack was imminent had the rip not miraculously dragged him out through the breakers. Many paddled their hearts out only to be blasted back to the sand and contemplate the “walk of shame”.
The tricky conditions proved too much for many and two scoring waves soon become a task rather than a surety. Still, I saw some great heroics this day and soon our semi finalists were selected.
The food and the raffles flowed like Coopers down Al’s throat and the many and varied ipods kept our toes a tappin and the crowd a singin.
The paddle out was moving (if not difficult) and very special, as Jo and Tia were ceremoniously escorted out on jet skis to their prized positions next to Dave and Jarrod. The warmth and spirit in this circle is always electric and awe inspiring. Those of you who have not been fortunate enough to participate, well I highly recommend it. It is a drug you will want over and over again as there is nothing but joy as a side effect.
And so to the finals. The juniors battled the rough conditions but were inspired by the knowledge they were all winners. Special mention to Bec and Chyna who showed guts way beyond their years.
I remember when I was a young girl growing up in Bondi……………………..whoops……..
The Women (girls, chicks, babes, sheilas, ….) were next out and didn’t the boys just love it. I’ve never seen so many judges scampering for a seat in the shade of the tent. John Connolly was thrown out after scoring 10’s on his sheet after the girls were just walking through the car-park.
They turned, they shimmied, they swayed, they slashed and generally showed us how far women’s surfing had come and how capable these girls really were in very trying conditions. In the end, Tory narrowly triumphed over Claire and that huge smile beamed brightly as any beacon after the announcement.
And finally to the men. Special mention to Zeeman (Steve Czintos) just for making the final and giving away some 25-30 years of age on these young whipper snappers. Power to ya Zee!!
Last years winner JJ Starr had to watch from the shoreline and dream of that 360 that secured him the title last year. The boys ripped up the fading conditions with the lifesavers making a late charge to steal the trophy. In the end, the most consistent and hardest charging surfer won the day ( and I should know he’s taken me out two years running in the semis – wait till I catch him tied to a tree).
Congratulations to Kevin Holt on a great contest, a worthy winner and an outstanding technician of his craft. Full results to follow this report.
An so another year comes to a close with great memories to share, stories to tell and friendships to strengthen. We reflect on who we are and what we are about…………….. Shit, I don’t know I’m just some dumb schmuck writing this column. Go figure it out for yourselves!
Good health and good times to you all.
Aloha and out.
Full Results Chloe Byron Memorial 2009