FANTASTIC conditions welcomed Australia’s top crews to Dee Why’s “Thunderdome” on Saturday to contest event two of this season’s Ocean Thunder Surf Boat series.
The men’s preliminary six rounds saw event one winners Currumbin top the table with three wins and three seconds.
Austinmer was again impressive with three wins, two seconds and a third, while Batemans Bay rounded out the top three with four wins and two thirds from its morning efforts.
The women’s morning preliminary rounds saw both North Cottesloe and Dee Why dominate with three wins and a second placing from its four rounds.
Behind these crews were last season’s series champions Bilgola, North Cronulla, event one winners Helensburgh-Stanwell Park, Mona Vale, Elouera, Torquay Jan Juc, Moruya and Collaroy, who all qualified for the afternoon finals.
The 15 men’s qualifiers were eventually whittled down to a final of six crews from Bulli, Batemans Bay, Currumbin, Austinmer, Mona Vale and Bronte.
Four of the six crews contested event one’s final with Bronte making the final after finishing 23rd (from 25) in event one and Batemans Bay an unlucky seventh.
The final six women’s crews were event one winners Helensburgh-Stanwell Park, Dee Why, North Cottesloe, defending series champions Bilgola, Mona Vale and Elouera.
The men’s double race final was a spectacle to behold, while many of the large waves seen throughout the day had dissipated, the banks on low tide brought more tactics to the event.
Run finishes ensured a sweep’s decision as to when to run and when to row was critical.
Bulli’s hopes for a podium finish were all but destroyed in the first seconds when it decided to run its boat along the shallow bank, jumping in and being the first to meet the waves without momentum meant the crew was effectively knocked out of contention by Mother Nature.
Mona Vale, Currumbin and Austinmer could not be split into the first buoy turn, and the return to the beach for the first time saw Mona Vale and Currumbin joined by Batemans Bay.
The second leg was a race between event one winners Currumbin and Batemans Bay which, by the final buoy turn, had turned into a one-boat race after a dominant display by the Eurobodalla crew.
Batemans Bay claimed the $4000 winner’s cheque finishing the final ahead of Currumbin and Austinmer in third place.
After that result, the race for series honours has hotted up with three previous men’s series winners in Currumbin, Mona Vale and Austinmer joined by Batemans Bay to round out the top four.
And with a five-point break between fourth and fifth place, it would be hard to see a series winner coming from anyone but the coveted top four.