Michael Wright (Lennox Head, NSW/AUS) chaired up the beach by his sisters Tyler and Kirby. Pic ASP/Will H-S
COOLANGATTA/QLD (Sunday, 2nd February, 2014) - The 2014 Chiko MP Classic came to a climactic finish today with an all-star action packed final with Michael Wright taking out the event followed by Garrett Parkes, Bede Durbidge and Tom Whitaker who finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. The final was one of the most exciting heats of the event, with surfer’s placings constantly shuffling, and the final four surfers fighting hard to take home the prestigious Chiko MP Classic title and Michael Peterson replica surfboard.
Michael Wright (Lennox Head, NSW/AUS) showed competitive maturity beyond his years as the 17-year-old took down a current WCT surfer – Durbidge, a former WCT surfer in Whitaker and ASP QS campaigner Parkes. Wright was left needing a score in the 7-point-range in the final five minutes, he caught a wave and unloaded two deadly turns, breaking his board on the third, but the turns were some of the best seen all event and a score of 8.10 was punched in by the judges and a worthy winner was crowned.
“It was great to have MP’s mum present me with a board, that was a huge honour,” Wright said. “This event had so many good surfers in it, I can’t really believe I won. I got that good wave at the end and then I broke my board and I didn’t know if I’d get a good score and it turned out that I did and it was enough to win. I’m so happy. I’ve had some problems with my back and I almost didn’t compete, but I’m so glad that I did.”
Garrett Parkes (Byron Bay, NSW/AUS) took his time in the final waiting almost 10 minutes to catch his first wave, but from then the flood gates opened. Parkes was on any wave he could find, launching and landing multiple technical aerials, but not earning enough to overtake Wright.
“It was a really hard final with a WCT surfer, a former WCT surfer and one of Australia’s best up and comers,” Parkes said. “I really wanted to win, but second is still a pretty good start to the year. I just want to get on a roll in the next few events and really have a solid year.”
Bede Durbidge (Gold Coast, QLD/AUS), the Chiko MP Classic No.1 seed was the standout surfer of the event, posting excellent scores all event for a variety of powerful carves and explosive snaps. In the final he struggled to find a wave that allowed him to open up, and had to settle for third in a very tight heat that saw 1st and 4th separated by only 1 point.
“I really wanted to win this event!” Durbidge said. “I think it must have been the hardest 1-Star ever, the level of surfing was so high. It was great to see Mikey (Wright) get the win though, he’s a great surfer and he was on fire all event. He got that great wave in the final and if he didn’t break his board it probably would have been a 10-point-ride.”
Tom Whitaker (Bronte, NSW/AUS), former ASP WCT surfer, used superior wave selection and raw power surfing to fight through the field of 96 surfers all the way to an impressive 4th place finish.
“I don’t compete much anymore so it’s nice to be on the podium,” Whitaker said. “Bede (Durbidge) and I were having a laugh that I was in blue and he was in red, NSW verses QLD! I really wanted to beat him. It was a great event, the surf was incredible and a good way to get into the Aussie leg of the ASP QS.”
Some of the event’s other standouts include Stu Kennedy (Lennox Head, NSW/AUS) who posted a near perfect Round 3 heat with two excellent scores to amass a heat total of 18.90 (out of a possible 20), Adam Melling (Lennox Head, NSW/AUS) the event’s No.2 seed who finished equal 7th place and consistently posted excellent score and finally New Zealand’s Billy Stairmand who finished equal 5th place was on fire all event, but fell one spot short of making the Final.
The 2014 Chiko MP Classic is proudly supported by Surfing Queensland, ASP, Chiko, Gold Coast City Council, Be the Influence, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, World Surfaris, HIF, Coastalwatch Plus, Surfing Life Magazine, and 5 and a half eyewear
About MP Michael Peterson is one of Coolangatta’s original ‘Coolie Kids’. He was on the forefront of the shortboard revolution in Australia in the 1970s and was one of the most successful professional surfers of his era, winning at Bells Beach three times, and claiming the first ever man-on-man surfing competition event win at the Stubbies Pro at Burleigh Heads, in classic conditions over Mark Richards. MP passed away last year and will forever be remembered as one of Australia’s favourite surfing sons because of his feats in competition and because of the way he dominated sessions at Kirra as featured in the cult surf film Morning of the Earth.