Lennox Head surfer Adam Melling signalled his intentions loud and clear for the 2009 season by taking a huge win at the Rip Curl MP Classic held in excellent 1.5m (5ft) barrelling high-performance surf at Coolangatta Beach yesterday.
Melling was rated 35 on the ASP World Series last year and was always in contention to qualify for the elite ASP World Tour but didn’t quite finish the season off in Hawaii.
This year he wants to erase the disappointments of last year and yesterday’s winning start to his competitive year indicates he’ll be a serious contender.
“I haven’t competed for a few months since returning from Hawaii in 2008 and I was really looking forward to dusting off the cobwebs and getting back competitively here and that’s how it has panned out,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier right now, my boards are great, fitness and injuries all good and to win in such excellent surf in this event is super great. It’s a special event named after an extraordinary surfer.”
Regardless of yesterday’s win, Melling is focused on the big picture for the season.
“This year is all about a top 10 finish on the ASP World Series and qualifying for the elite World Tour – I was devastated to get close last year and not get there so I’m really focused for this season to give it my absolute best,” he said.
Melling’s final two wave scores yesterday were a 9.4 and an excellent 8.5 to easily take the final on a total of 17.9, with Gold Coast surfer Ice Pierera-Ryan (Coolangatta) coming in second on a scoreline of 15.8.
NSW surfers Matt Wilkinson (Central Coast) placed third on 14.5 and Lennox Head’s Stuart Kennedy placed fourth on 13.6.
Michael Peterson, accompanied by his mother, sat in the judging tower to watch all the day’s action. Peterson commented on the surfing and surf and in reference to the sand pumping said:
“It was fantastic to watch all these surfers performing so well – they were all ripping out there.
“The waves were good but definitely not as good as they should be or as good as I remember surfing them.
“There’s poor sand build-up out there and the waves have chunky sections.
“It’s not as perfect as it used to be – it should be barrelling all the way through to Kirra and further.”
Regardless, it was the first great swell of the Gold Coast season and the surfing all day was incredible with outstanding 9-point plus rides common throughout.
Melling scored a perfect 10 point barrel ride in his quarter-final yesterday which picked him up the Toohey’s Wave of the contest award.
PICTURE: Adam Melling in action in the final. Picture: SteveRobertson, Surfing Australia.