BULLI’S men dominated and the Tugun women snuck home to take the main events at the Australian Surf Rowers League Australian Open at Stockton beach on Sunday.
In the best conditions of the three-day carnival, the Australian Open wrapped up with tight racing across finals of the open and under-23 men and women as well as reserve and under-19 men’s divisions.
A one-metre swell, a 15-knot easterly breeze and bright sunshine set the scene for the action on the final day, as competitors faced a challenging offshore sand bank 100metres from the start.
In the six-boat, 400-metre men’s final, Bulli converted a boat-length lead at the turn into a comfortable win.
They stormed home ahead of Palm Beach and Batemans Bay.
The Tugun women’s crew had a much closer battle, scraping home on a small wave in the final 10metres ahead of Jan Juc, Elouera and Kurrawa in the seven-boat decider.
Austinmer won the men’s reserve, Port Kembla the men’s under-23s, Tannum the under-23 women and Corrimal the men’s under-19s.
Redhead’s under-19 crew was the best performed of the Hunter entrants yesterday, finishing fourth.
Each division started with 24 qualifiers yesterday.
They were then whittled down to six finalists, through quarter-finals and semi-finals.
It was the second year in a row Stockton has held the Australian Open.
ASRL president Bert Hunt said the 2013 contest was one of the best in the annual event’s history.
‘‘It was extremely successful thanks to a wonderful job by the Stockton Surf Club and the Stockton community, which got right behind the event,’’ Hunt said.
‘‘The rowers and supporters went away very happy with the event. I think it was one of the best titles we’ve had.’’
Hunt said the titles may return to Stockton next year but the ASRL had not yet made a decision.
On Saturday, Queensland won the the National Interstate Surf Boat Championship, taking four of the seven titles on offer.
Arch-rivals NSW claimed the men’s reserves and under-23 men’s events.
No Hunter rowers were part of the NSW squads.
South Australia provided the biggest upset of the Australian Open when they won their first interstate surf boat title in the relay.
Queensland claimed their titles in the open men and women, under-23 women and under-19 men.