Friendships will mean little when Australia's best surfers paddle out to represent their clubs at the Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle (ABB) Series III National Final at Cronulla on January 23-24.
Defending event Champions, Snapper Rocks Boardriders (Collangatta, QLD) club will once again be led by 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, QLD). Although competing at the highest level of surfing on the WSL Championship Tour (CT) for over a decade now, Parkinson still feels the pressure when competing at club level.
"I still feel a lot of pressure at these events," Parkinson said." I think it's because I'm surfing for my family and friends not just myself. Club surfing is so much fun. I'm really looking forward to getting down to Cronulla it would have to be one of the greatest weekends in Australian surfing."
Parkinson and his fellow competitors should be excited at the prospect of some quality waves at this year's event with the forecast looking like there should be no shortage of swell at the 2016 event.
"The forecast is looking pretty good at this stage so it would be great to get some quality waves at Cronulla and give all the competitors and clubs an opportunity to show their talent."
Another WSL CT surfer who will be making a return appearance at this year's ABB is Culburra's Tyler Wright (Culburra, South Coast NSW). Culburra were one of the dark horse Clubs in 2015 and Wright is keen to take it to the next level at this year's event.
"Home is such an important place for me," Wright said. "I love getting the opportunity to represent Culburra. I spend so much time away throughout the year so to share the camaraderie of the Australian Boardriders Battle with my family and friends, it's just a great way to kick off the year."
The National Final will again offer a World Tour surfing event-like experience for the clubs and the fans. Live broadcast to big screens on the beach and major infrastructure along with great sponsor activations will ensure a fantastic celebration of club surfing culture is brought to life. The event will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports 3 nationally over the weekend from 8:27am on Saturday and 7:57am on Sunday.
An exciting event format will see club teams battle it out in a Women's division, five-person Teams' division and a Skins competition. The National Final will include a lucrative, winner-take-all Skins format across 12 heats with a $1000 jackpot in each heat. For the first time this year, the top four clubs following the Skins, Women's and Teams events will contest a Grand Final involving a one-hour heat similar to the Teams relay format to decide the 2016 Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle champion.
The clubs to contest the final are:
NEW SOUTH WALES: Cabarita Boardriders, Le-Ba Boardriders, North Shelly Boardriders Club, Long Reef Boardriders Assoc, Jones Beach Boardriders, Ulladulla Boardriders Club
QUEENSLAND: Point Lookout Boardriders Club, Kirra Surfriders Club
North Shore Boardriders Club, Burleigh Heads Boardriders Club
VICTORIA: Peninsula Surfriders Club, Portland Boardriders Club
WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Margaret River Boardriders Club
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: South Coast Boardriders Club TASMANIA: South Arm Boardriders Club WILDCARD ENTRIES: Snapper Rocks Surfriders Club, North Narrabeen Boardriders Club, Culburra Beach Boardriders Club, Merewether Surfboard Club HOST CLUB: Cronulla Sharks Boardriders
The series is officially sanctioned by the World Surf League, which allows Australian WSL Championship Tour surfers (men and women) the opportunity to represent their local boardriders club at respective State qualifying events and the National Final. The Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle is proudly supported by naming rights partner Original Source and major support partners in Toyota, Nikon, Oakley, Sutherland Shire Council, the World Surf League, XXXX Summer Bright Lager, DrinkWise,Milwaukee, FCS, Surfing Life, Fox Sports, Destination NSW, Boost Mobile, Quest Cronulla Beach, Banana Boat and Subway.
In total $110,000 is up for grabs across the entire National Series including the National Final. There is $29,000 available across the eight State qualifying events, while $81,000 will be on offer at the National Final. The winning boardriders club will receive $20,000, while $36,000 will be split between the clubs finishing second to 20th.
Additional National Final prize money includes $12,000 across 12 Skins heats; $5,000 across 5 Women's heats; $5,000 for the Fox Sports Patriot Club Award; $1,000 each to the Wayne Bartholomew and Layne Beachley Medal Winners; and $1,000 for the Milwaukee Heavy Duty Hack. FCS is also providing a $1000 product pack to the winning club.