MEREWETHER bodyboarder Marshall Watson is hungry for more after gaining a taste of elite-level success at the Australian titles.
Watson won the International Bodyboard Association national open men’s title at Kiama beach this month.
It was the 23-year-old’s first national title of any kind and reward for his commitment to the sport.
Watson moved to Newcastle from his home in Victor Harbor, south of Adelaide, four years ago to further his career in bodyboarding.
He has competed on the Australian professional tour frequently since making the move but is yet to get past the semi-final stage.
The national titles in Kiama were held alongside the year’s final pro tour event, in which Watson’s run ended in the quarter-finals.
He hoped his success in the amateur final, in which he edged out regular professional rider Lachlan Cramsie from Queensland in the final 30 seconds, would be the catalyst for a rise through the elite ranks.
‘‘I’ve been competing on the pro tour for the past four years and I really want to win my first pro event, and from there hopefully win the series,’’ Watson said.
‘‘I’ll definitely take more confidence from this win.
‘‘It was a great learning curve as well, making a final and knowing what I need to do to win one, because you surf differently in a final to what you do in a heat.’’
Friends and family, including his parents, made the trip from South Australia to watch his victory and he hoped the success under pressure would hold him in good stead for the start of the pro tour in April.
‘‘A lot of it was just mental, knowing what I needed to do, just staying on task and not getting distracted,’’ he said. ‘‘I didn’t think too far ahead.’’
Another rider from Newcastle Bodyboard Club, Rusta King, came fifth in the cadets division at the national titles.