The First National Board Series is the most hotly contested event on any beach in Australia. The depth in board paddling in Australia and beyond makes it a crowd-favourite and a “must see” race throughout the summer. On the men’s side we saw a number of usual suspects miss-out including Round 1 winner Rhys Burrows. Another notable absence was board-paddling maestro Zachary Orchard who failed to make it through his semi-final. As the boys left the beach it immediately looked to be a race in 2, when local hero Will Budd and Kiwi Max Beattie broke away from the pack. Paddling back to the beach the pair were going stroke-for-stroke before a wave came through and brought current Australian Board Champion Hayden White and Manly’s young-gun Will Stone upto Beattie and Budd on the front wave. A 4-way sprint for the finish line, saw Stone from Manly take the win and ahead of Hayden White. Will Budd rounded out the podium with Beattie left to wallow in 4th.
The First National Women’s Board Race looked to be over before it started. The teenager from Bondi Lizzie Welborn went straight to the front and never looked like losing. After putting nearly 50m on her nearest rival, Welborn was only meters from the shore before the entire field engulfed the 18-year-old on what could only be descrbired as “wave of the day”. The long legs of Burleigh’s Devon Halligan hit the sand first and eventually taking the win by the smallest of margins, in what was a satisfying comeback win for the kiwi international.