An uncooperative Mandurah Wedge may have made for a slow start to the ABA season, but round two of the ABA is set to begin with a bang.
Forecasting D’bah is something always open to interpretation.
It depends whether your preference lies within lefts or rights. It depends whether you have a fair bottom turn game or not. And really, it depends what end (North or South) you prefer to tackle across that glorious 500 metre stretch.
This years forecast however is as black and white as they come. If you’ve a preference for rights and you’ve got balls enough to smack a sandy closeout, you’re in with a fair chance. This years competition is likely to be held closer to the North end of D’bah known as ‘Lovers’.
Similar to years previous it’s going to be the rights standing up, though we’re bound to witness the occasional bottomless left right up behind the rocks. At this point in time, we’re roughly looking around the 3-4 feet margin paired with favourable winds from the south (developing to light northerlies over the period of Sat and Sun).
Long story short, it’s going to be pumping.
The offshore buoys are reading 3-4 feet with light winds all weekend – Sourced Buoyweather
Outside of the forecast, the big question on everyone’s mind is who’s taking this thing out.? We’ve taken the time to bring together the names and give you a hypothesis. Who’s your money on?
A few clicks North of the NSW/QLD border lies the Sunshine Coast, home to Australia’s biggest names in bodyboarding, both past and present.
Currently, it’s Lachlan Cramsie who appears to of taken the torch from his predecessors and leads the way for the SC. With performance to boot in all conditions, Cramsie consistently finishes top wrung and will undoubtedly have some kind of plan to do exactly that.
Likely to be seen travelling alongside the heavy hitter, will be Simon Cassidy and Josh Keenan whom together have taken to tackling the ABA head on over the last two years and are also unlikely to go down without a fight.
Walking South of the border we’re likely to see Dave Winchester make the hour drive from his cosy Mullumbimby abode.Already familiar with the wave, Winny has been seen getting some last minute practice in alongside Ben Player over the last week.
Also cruising from the South will be last years Duranbah Pro winner Michael Novy. In a similar fashion to last year, Novy has been sneaking some last minute sessions in and ought to make some kind of impact statement throughout the event.
Winny knows how to navigate a sandy pit – LeBoogie photo
Putting in the time and making the six hour flight from West to East will be some of Western Australia’s biggest names, by all accounts it sounds like WA might just be the most well represented state at this years D’bah Pro.
With well-trained names like Davis Blackwell, Kyle Ward and Jake Metcalfe in the mix we can see a few upsets bound to take place. Davis is a man familiar with the short and punchy excites of Mandurah Wedge and will play this to his advantage in D’bah’s punchy conditions.
Kyle Ward did a number on the field in round one in tricky conditions and will be looking to cement his name as number one on the ABA leaderboard. Whilst Jake Metcalfe surfs explosive at the best of times, the man has just finished a brief stint on the APB tour and will be ready to bring his new comp knowledge to play!
Will Davis Blackwell’s knowledge in punchy conditions come in handy? – Chris Gurney image
Three years of missed chances means the name on everyones lips will be Joe Clarke.
Tantalisingly close to the title the last three years running Joe will be gunning for another podium finish ahead of the board. Take into account the mans current form out there, (check it here) and you should have little doubts as to his ability to take it to the top.
Bigger news perhaps is that Rob Laurie will be taking place in the event. Anyone who knows the mans resume of boosts out at D’bah knows this is huge news. You’re unlikely to meet someone as consistent as Rob is at D’bah.
Another name to take into account will be Nick Gornall, off the back of his Airheads trip the man might be burnt out, but if he makes an entry to the event, judging also upon his recent form, Nick could be in with a fighting chance at the title.
Shayden Shcrader, Liam Lucas, Calen Jordan, Santo & Buzz Vanderwaal, Theo Hinchliffe, Noah Symmans, Lee Wilson and Blake Gerrard are names under 21 years of age that ought to travel far in both the Pro Junior event and the Open Mens.
The aforementioned are years ahead of their respective packs and their matured approach to surfing beach’ies will undoubtedly prove exactly that over the three day period. Likely to go all the way will be Shayden and Calen both of which are well noted for their consistent performances accross big and small waves.
Shayden Schrader blowing the roof off’ve Pipe earlier this year – Danny Black Image
Blowing in from international waters will be the Japanese man Hayato Enokido. Anyone who has watched the man perform over the last couple years knows this isn’t a name to be taken lightly. The Japanese bodyboarder can literally flip off of anything, and do so as many times he pleases, provided the wave holds. Whilst he often finishes high in the event Hayato has never made a final, perhaps this is this the year?
The name on everyones minds however is 2016 APB world champion Jared Houston. In town for the ABA Tour we can’t help but wonder how he’ll perform in conditions both warmer and less powerful to that of his home. The answer to that is probably above and beyond expectations. Although clearly the world title holder has a lot to get through before he lifts that D’bah trophy.
The talent accross the board will be too much for a few of the big names in the early rounds of the event. Early favourites will become few and far in between as the event wears on, but it will be Joe Clarke who after a three year dry spell goes all the way and takes it out against what we believe will be a junior rider.
Conditions should resemble similar to that of last years event, which looked a little something like this.. D’bah Pro will be running this weekend Friday to Sunday get down and check out all the action!