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This Is Northern New South Wales

All Girls Surf Showdown

The All Girls Surf Showdown was held last weekend in Lennox Head. This was the final year of the event, the longest running all female surfing competition in Australia that promotes girls and women’s participation in surfing.

Event directors and founders of the competition Max Perrot and Kellie O’Brien commented: “Female opportunities have improved greatly over the years and the event has fulfilled its need,” Perrot said. “Times have changed in the industry and it’s probably not as relevant as what it used to be.” “It’s come a long way and we feel really proud that we’ve come full circle,” O’Brien said:

Kellie and Max had a dream to create some pathways for girls in the sport and they have had girls that have made their way on to the world stage and earned good money. “It was quite cutting edge back when we started. All we wanted to do was increase participation in the sport for girls and provide professional pathways and careers.”

The event was established in 1993 and turned 20 years old this year.  The current top 2 in the world: 4x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons are former winners of the ‘Open Pro’ division. They along with Tyler Wright, Laura Enever and Rebecca Woods are all Aussie surfers who won this event and are now at the top of the sport and competing on the ASP “Dream Tour”.

The field was the strongest in many years with competitors making a big effort to be part of the last year.  WQS surfers Dimity Stoyle, Phillipa Anderson, Brittani Nicholl and Georgia Fish rushed back from France to compete.  Former top 5 professional surfer Samantha Cornish also took part. Cornish won the Showdown’s Junior Pro division back in 1999 before making the world top 10 in 2002. “I really enjoyed coming to the event as a junior and being the last year, it’s a great opportunity to catch up with everyone. The “Showdown” has helped the development of junior surfers over the 20 years and it’s been one of the best female events in Australia.”

There was a 20-year reunion party in conjunction with the All Girls Surfriders club 21st held at the Lennox Hotel on Saturday night. “It was great to see a lot of women come back and just appreciate some really good childhood memories,” O’Brien said.”To make the decision to finish was tough because you just think that it’s going to go on forever. “It took us a bit of time to decide and I’m really proud that we finished on our own terms. “It’s nice when it’s your decision and not because everything fell apart.”

The surf came to the party as well, with 1 to 2 metre waves brushed with offshore winds for the 2 days of competition and the finals had the best surf and surfing of the weekend.  Brittani Nicholl dominated the blue ribbon Open Pro final.  Nicholl started with an excellent ride and then in the dying minutes found a solid back up score, scoring a total of 15 points.  Brittani said: “I have to thank Max Perrot, Kellie O’Brien & Jenny Boggis for a well organised event, it is sad to think this event has come to an end after 20yrs of success. This event has been a great event for up & coming women surfers over the years, you just have to look at the names on the honour roll & you’ll soon realise that this event has definitely been a major help in creating a path for women’s surfing. “  “It’ll be sad to see this event disappear off the calendar but I think everybody should be looking at it as more of a celebration as Max & Kellie have both achieved what they originally set out to do when they created the foundation for this event with Keryn Noach 20yrs ago.”

Results are: Lennox Hotel Open Pro- 1 Brittani Nicholl, 2 Codie Klein, 3 Samantha Cornish, 4 Kirsten Ogden. Lennox Hotel Junior Pro- 1 Kirsten Ogden, 2 Georgia Fish, 3 Stephanie Single, 4 Codie Klein.   All Girls Surfriders Club Longboard Pro- 1Isabelle Braley, 2 Crystal Dzigas, 3 Melissa Combo, 4 Roisin Carolan.  All Girls Surfriders Club Over 28- 1 Jenny Boggis, 2 Crystal Vail, 3 Jade Ogilvie, 4 Sandra English.  All Girls Surfriders Club Over 40- 1 Mel Mott, 2 Kellie O’Brien, 3 Jo-Anne Anderson, 4 Fiona Hunt. The Northern Star 16 & Under- 1 Alyssa Lock, 2 Laura Poncini, 3 April Broughton, 4 Kiani Dobbyn.  Southern Cross Ten 14 & Under- 1 Alyssa Lock, 2 Jalessa Vincent, 3 Laura Poncini, 4 Sophie McCulloch.  Hive Swimwear Open ‘B’- Collette Kerry, 2 Sarah Morison, 3 Ros MacKenzie, 4 Meryl Johnston.  Special awards: Lois Bucket Real Estate Best manoeuvre-Kirsten Ogden, Lennox Head Pharmacy Best tube-Alyssa Lock, Lennox Head Physiotherapy Centre Best Wipeout-Sophie McCulloch, Lennox Head Osteopathic & Chiropractic, Best judge-Rob Van-Iersal, Lennox Head Dental Junior Pro incentive-Annabel Barrett, Mullet Hair 16 & Under incentive-Ellie Brooks, Elders Lennox Head 14 & Under incentive- Jancinta Greenup, Inspiration award (winning a signed Tyler Wright surfboard) -Kiara Meredith, Inner Beauty Highest Placed All Girls Member- Roisin Carolan.

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Story with thanks to Kellie O’Brien and Max Perrot – Photographers – Deb Tinker, Surfin Snapps, Northern Rivers Sporting Images, Leon Meredith,