The Culburra Beach Boardriders Club has won the 2018 nudie Australian Boardriders Battle Final in pumping waves at Newcastle Beach. It was a family affair as Mikey and Tyler Wright teamed up with Jordin and Ty Watson, along with Jordan Dank, to take the ultimate bragging rights in Australian club surfing.
The club, which only formed in 2014, had been edging closer to making the Final every year, and looked primed in 2018 with the addition of current WSL women's World Champion Tyler Wright and her brother, Mikey Wright. With only 50 seconds left, Mikey was the hero, finding a mid-range score and making it back to the beach just in time for the Final to finish and to hear that the young club had just made history.
"This is incredible to win today -- it's so special," Tyler Wright said. "I knew we were in good hands having Mikey out there at the end, he is such a weapon and could always get the score. Seeing him run up the beach at the end was good, he has so much passion for family and our club and that is what we needed today to get the win.
"Winning a World Title is obviously one of the greatest achievements, but this is more for the community and family -- the hometown. I travel and compete with them in my heart, but to be here today with all of them is incredible -- these are the people that raised us and I couldn't be prouder."
Having struggled during the teams division earlier in the day, Culburra was certain they didn't have a chance of making the Final and began to leave Newcastle. Jordin Watson was at the airport and Tyler was on the Central Coast, but both rushed back to the beach and prepared for the Final. Once back, they came up against past champions North Narrabeen, event wildcards North Shelly, and local favorites Merewether.
Tyler's younger brother Mikey was the star for the club taking out the skins earlier in the day, and then finding the winning wave in the Final. He was also awarded the prestigious Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew medal for being the best performer of the event.
"As I was taking off on that wave I heard them say I had 53 seconds," said Mikey. "I knew I just needed to do two turns, then get up the beach and get into the gate. I ran through the gate and as I took a couple deep breaths I heard the countdown go three, two, one… So I was stoked to make it. Winning as team is an unreal feeling, it's not just the surfers in the jerseys, but we had supporters, our boardriders club and the whole community back home in Culburra. Our team was almost out, but I had a good morning and made some heats, we love a fight and we never give up. Everyone played their part and I'm really proud of what we did today."
Culburra club president Ty Watson was the heart and soul on the final day, willing his team on even when it looked like they were gone. His performance was solid and held the club in the race along with his brother, Jordin, and club member Jordan Dank.
"I can't believe we won and we didn't even have Owen [Wright] here," Watson said. "I spoke to him before the Final and he said he was watching and supporting the team. We thought we'd be out of the event because we had a bad heat in the Tag Team yesterday. Half the team had left town, Tyler was in Avoca and my brother was at the airport when we found out that Mikey had won enough Skins heats for us to qualify for the Final. Then we came here and won. It's a great feeling."
The day featured other standouts, as welll. Macy Callaghan added another accolade to her increasingly impressive resume after being awarded the Layne Beachley medal for being the top female performer over the weekend, her second time winning this prestigious honor. Callaghan's club North Shelly Boardriders had to settle for 4th place overall today, but the future surfing star was one of the main reasons they made a Final appearance.
"It's been such a great weekend!," Callaghan said. "Of course, it would have been great to win the event, but our club made the final and we had a great time enjoying the event together. It's a real honor to win this medal, I've looked up to Layne my whole life and it's great to have her here watching me surf. I'm feeling great and really excited about the next couple of events we have coming up."
Following in exactly the same trajectory to the 2016 nudie Australian Boardriders Battle, North Shelly Boardriders' Shane Holmes managed to win the Milwaukee Heavy Duty Award for a barrage of impressive snaps and carves over the course of the event. Holmes claimed a $500 purse as well as a bunch of Milwaukee products for his efforts.
2018 Nudie Australian Boardriders Battle Final Leaderboard:
- 1 Culburra BRC - Winner
- 2 Merewether SRC - Runner-Up
- 3 Nth Narrabeen BRC
- 4 North Shelley BRC
- 5 Snapper Rocks
- 6 Torquay BRC
- 7 Elouera BRC
- 8 Avoca BRC
- 9 Burleigh Heads BRC
- 10 Le Ba BRC
- 11 Scarborough BRC
- 12 North Steyne BRC
- 13 Ulladulla Boardriders
- 14 Byron Bay BRC
- 15 Maroubra United BRC
- 16 North Shore BRC
- 17 Point Lookout BRC
- 18 Phillip Island BRC
- 19 Frenchmans
- 20 Coffs Harbour BRC
- 21 Margaret River BRC
- 22 Bondi BRC
- 23 South Arm BRC
- 24 South Coast BRC*