Monday, July 2, 2012

HISTORY: The Shark Island Challenge

HISTORY: The Shark Island Challenge

  The Shark Island Challenge (SIC) is an International Association of Professional Bodyboarders (APB) invitational specialty event held each year in Cronulla (Sydney, Australia), to the south of Cronulla Bay and Cronulla Point.  Here at Shark Island, these right-hand waves roll in out of deep water and break over a sharp, extremely dangerous rock shelf reef making for thick pitching lips and heavy slabbing conditions.  Shark Island tends to break best on east-southeast swells.  On swells that are more east or more northeast, riders have to contend with what is known as "The Surge" (a secondary peak that forms just to the north of the main peak), which can make riding this wave even more difficult.

Shark Island at it's finest...SIC Competition Director Alex Leon pulling into a beast!  Photo: Gleeson 

  The first Shark Island Challenge was organized by Nathan Purcell and Mark Fordham, and was run in 1997.  In 15 years of the Shark Island Challenge, only two non-Australians have won this event.  Here is the list of SIC Champions:

1997 - Matt Percy - Australia

1998 - Steve "Bullet" Mackenzie - Australia

1999 - Christian "Rissole" Riguccini - Australia

2000 - Mike Stewart - Hawaii

2001 - Damian King - Australia

2002 - Guilherme Tamega - Brazil

2003 - Guilherme Tamega - Brazil

2004 - Guilherme Tamega - Brazil

2005 - *NO WINNER DECLARED*- Event was cancelled in the quarterfinals, two days prior to the end of the competition window, due to lack of surf. The 16 quartefinalists shared the $50,000 prize.

2006 - Ryan Hardy - Australia

2007 - Ben Player - Australia

2008 - Ben Player - Australia

2009 - Ewan Donnachie - Australia

2010 - Ryan Hardy - Australia

2011 - Dave Winchester - Australia

2012 - Mitch Rawlins - Australia

2013 - Josh Kaihe - Australia

2014 - Andrew Lester - Australia

2014 Shark Island Challenge winner Andrew Lester

  To get a better idea of how powerful Shark Island can be, check out this video clip.  The 2001 Shark Island Challenge is considered by many to be one of the heaviest bodyboarding competitions to ever run:

For more information about Shark Island, the history of The Shark Island Challenge, and updates regarding the 2015 Shark Island Challenge be sure to visit these links:

APB Tour on Facebook

Official APB Tour website

APB Tour on YouTube

...Stay tuned for more on the 2015 Shark Island Challenge here at BODYBOARDING 101!

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