RUSS Molony was speechless two weeks ago when he found out the Surfest Wandiyali ATSI Indigenous Classic perpetual trophy had been named after him.
The honour he felt grew on Friday as he became the first person to claim it after an 11th victory in the event.
The North Shelly surfer edged out another multiple champion, Joe Haddon, by 3.5 points to win the four-man final late on Friday after storms delayed competition.
“It was a bit slow at the start,” Molony said.
“Joey had a couple of nice waves and his two scores were pretty good.
“We were all getting waves, sharing it around and having fun, and then I got a couple of good waves towards the end and got the win.
“It means heaps. I love this event and pushing my surfing. It keeps me young.”
The 40-year-old was equally honoured to have the perpetual trophy created by Wandiyali CEO Steve Kilroy.
“He called me up a couple of weeks ago and said he was making up a trophy in my name, and what do you say to that?” he said. “It’s an honour and to win the event that many times it’s a bit of a shock, because I don’t feel that old. I feel like I’m surfing better than I ever have.”
Finn Hill won the junior contest, Robbie Page claimed the longboard title and Summer Simon the women’s.
Meanwhile, Australian Boardriders Battle competitor Morgan Cibilic will feature at World Surf League wildcard trials for Surfest’s 6000-point men’s event, which starts on Monday, at Merewether on Saturday.
Cibilic is down to surf in the seventh of 24-heat at the trials, which start at 8am. Cibilic and his Merewether club start their ABB national final campaign at Newcastle Beach at the same time but the junior competitor is aiming to surf both events.
More from Surfest media: On Friday, Port Kembla’s Summer Simon, 15, was excited to win the women’s event.
“It feels kind of weird. I fell on a couple of waves in the final and thought ‘that’s no good,’” the Illawarra Sports High Year 10 student said.
Simon surfed in the Dalton Lawyers Cadet Cup presented by Arcbuild and the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota High School Team Challenge.
On Friday, that competitive experience paid her a $1500 dividend that’s going straight into her bank account where she is saving for a car that will allow her to surf far and wide.
In the longboard division, former pro surfer Robbie Page had his name etched into the history books. The 50-year-old from Verges Creek near Kempsey – who has two NSW state longboard titles – said it felt terrific to get the win.
“There’s some great watermen here. At my age you’ve got nothing new to offer on shortboards but longboards keep you in the water and you can work on style,” he said.
“This event gives us a feeling of belonging. There’s football and boxing but for saltwater people, there’s surfing too.
“We feel really honoured for what Surfest does for us here. I’d like to take my hat off to Surfest and all the Indigenous people here for putting something back.”
In the junior division, Avoca’s Hill took $1000 prize money down the M1.
The 14-year-old, who progressed through two heats in last weekend’s Maitland and Port Stephens Pro Junior, improved on last year’s second placing to Noah Munro from Noraville.
“I’m going to Indo this year and the money will go to that,” Hill said with a massive smile.
Molony won $6000 for taking out the main event, which is the richest indigenous surfing event in Australia.
Wandiyali Indigenous Classic
1. Russell Molony (North Shelly, NSW) $6000
2. Joe Haddon (Forster, NSW) $4000
3. Noah Munro ( NoraVille, NSW) $1500
4. Billy Bain (Avalon, NSW) $1000
1. Simon Summer (Port Kembla, NSW) $1500
2. Lily Smith (Kincumber, NSW) $750
3. Jasmine McCorquodale (Bateau Bay, NSW) $500
4. Phoebe King (Mudjimba, Qld) $250
1. Fin Hill (Avoca Beach, NSW) $1000
2. Noah Munro (Noraville, NSW) $500
3. Rohnin Henry-Micale (Bellambi, NSW) $300
4. Taj Simon (Port Kembla, NSW) $200
1. Robert Page (Verges Creek, NSW) $1000
2. Tom Avery (Lismore, NSW) $500
3. Jamie Archibald ( $300
4. Matt Molony (Killarney Vales, NSW) $200