CRONULLA, Sydney, Australia (Saturday August 14, 2010) – Ryan Hardy (Perth, WA) has taken out the 2010 Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge, held in pumping 3-5ft (1.5m) waves at Shark Island, in Cronulla, New South Wales. In an all-star final, Hardy defeated two-time World Champions Ben Player (2nd) and Damian King (3rd), as well as exciting young Cronulla local Shaun Pyne (4th).
“The final was the best heat for me because some of the best waves of the day came through in perfect conditions,” said Hardy. ”Competing with Kingy and Benny P is always good fun and intense, because we have a long history of competitive rivalry which puts each of us on our toes. Throw in local young upstart Shaun Pyne, the local favourite with the crowd behind him, and it was a great atmosphere. After each wave the channel gallery was going wild and you could hear the cheers from the shore, and that’s the ingredients of an epic finale.”
Utilising an extended waiting period of two months, the Fluidzone Shark Island Challenge overcame an extended period of unusually small conditions to produce some of the best waves of the winter at the internationally-renowned reef break.
“After nearly eight weeks of waiting, and two trips to Sydney (from Perth) already in the previous weeks, I was definitely fired up to go all out and make all the running around worthwhile”, added Hardy. ”The conditions were really fun to surf in. ”It wasn’t heavy intimidating Shark Island where you’re battling to fight through the ledges to emerge unscathed in the channel, it was a real playful direction where every set wave would peel across the island at a speed where you could pick your line depending on how you wanted to surf the wave”.
The final produced some of the most electrifying manoeuvres of the contest, highlighted by Ben Player’s (Avalon, NSW) ten point ride for a huge air above the inside rock ledge, known to local bodyboarders as ‘Surge’. The perfect score was also rewarded with a bonus $500 for “Move Of The Day”, but Player’s back up ride wasn’t quite enough to take the overall lead from Hardy.