Snapper Rocks Surfriders are facing a major threat to their crown after Day 1 of the National Final of the Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle Series III at Cronulla.
2012 World Champion and Club favourite Joel Parkinson is relaxed about his teams performance.
"My club is like my family and it's such an honour to be here surfing for Snapper," Parkinson said. "We've got a lot of talent, but I know all the other teams here are hungry for the Title too, so we are going to have to be at our best to win. We want the win too of course, but win, lose or draw, we're just here to enjoy the weekend, the camaraderie is what it's all about."
Making the most of a lumpy 3-to-4ft swell and a challenging shore break, the two-time defending champions sit in third spot on the leaderboard after the first day of the two-day event with a host of clubs lining up to take their crown.
Merewether Surfboard Club tops the leaderboard on 3650 points, followed by Margaret River Boardriders (3450) with Snapper Rocks sharing 3250 points with five other clubs. 2016 CT Rookie Ryan Callinan enjoyed representing his club today.
"This is a super fun event," Callinan said. "It's cool being at the beach with all my friends just hanging out, it does get pretty competitive when people hit the water. It's a cool vibe everyone's cheering and having fun. I think this event brings out the best in everyone. "
Another CT rookie representing their hometown Boardriders club was [Davey Cathels] (/athletes/2056/davey-cathels) who helped North Narrabeen to post the highest team score of the day.
"It was a good year for me last year and this year has started off well at this event today with North Narrabeen starting strong," Cathels said. "This is such a great event, having all the clubs here in one place is all time, everyone's fired up and having fun."
All return on Sunday for the quarterfinals of the Teams' division, which start the Day 2 action followed by the final six Skins heats. Snapper snuck into the quarters after finishing third in today's Teams' heat to edge out South Australia's South Coast Boardriders.
The final day will be televised live on Fox Sports 3 from 8am and online at www.australianboardridersbattle.com.
An exciting event format has the clubs battle it out in a Women's division, five-person Teams' division and a Skins competition, which includes a lucrative, winner-take-all format across 12 heats with a $1000 jackpot in each heat. The top four clubs following the Skins, Women's and Teams events will contest a Grand Final on Sunday involving a one-hour heat similar to the Teams relay format to decide the 2016 Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle champion.
Margaret River Boardriders enjoyed the early lead on Saturday thanks to a dominant run by Jacob Willcox in the Skins heats at the start of the day. Willcox won three heats to not only put his club in a strong position but also collect $3000 with a $1000 jackpot on offer for each heat win.
Unfortunately for Margaret River their female surfer Bronte Macaulay sustained a serious ankle injury in her Women's heat but the club has an outstanding replacement in Felicity Palmateer for the upcoming Teams' heats on Sunday.
Many of the clubs' World Surf League competitors will play crucial roles on Sunday having already starred on Day 1. Joel Parkinson (Snapper Rocks Surfriders), Tyler Wright (Culburra Beach Boardriders) and 2016 WSL rookies Ryan Callinan (Merewether Surfboard Club) and Davey Cathels (North Narrabeen Boardriders) all looked ominous today to dominate their various heats.
The Original Source Australian Boardriders Battle Series III is the country's biggest grassroots boardriders event series with $110,000 in prize money. It involved more than 60 of Australia's best boardriders clubs in eight State qualifying rounds starting in September and culminating in this weekend's National Final for 20 clubs.
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.
For more information on the series, visit www.australianboardridersbattle.com