Australian bodyboarder Chase O’Leary, of Port Macquarie, NSW, claimed the top spot in the IBA Box Pro trials today, finishing ahead of more than 60 international riders in the race for spots in the main event.
O’Leary’s win was convincing, the 21-year-old consistently nailed an array of technical tricks, including ARS’s (air reverse spins) and back-flips, in the one-to-two metre waves of Gas Bay near Margaret River to advance through a total of five rounds before claiming victory in the trials final.
As the highest placed among eight successful trials riders, O’Leary has still drawn a tough main-event heat, up against the number six GSS (Grand Slam Series) seeded competitor, Mark McCarthy (ZAF) of South Africa and the ‘Kelly Slater’ of bodyboarding, Mike Stewart of Hawaii.
His win also earns him 2000 GQS points and places him neck-and-neck with another Aussie, Tom Rigby (Burleigh Heads, QLD), at the top of the Global Qualifying Series (GQS) leader board. The top eight riders on the GQS at year’s end will earn coveted seeds on the 2012 GSS World Tour.
The other successful trialists to earn seeds into the main event today were: Rigby, Mitch Woodland (Box Beach, Port Stephens, NSW), day one standout Nick Omerod (Tweed Heads, NSW), Sam Bennett (Port Macquarie, NSW), Cade Sharp (Sunshine Coast, Qld), international, Keahi Parker (Hawaii) and Joe Clarke (Gold Coast, Qld).
Clarke scored a perfect-10 point ride to earn his slot, setting the beach alight with an incredible roll during his quarter final that saw him project from the lip to the heavens. Clarke leapfrogged to the lead, relegating his nearest opponent, Andrew Lester (Cronulla, NSW), to third place and elimination.
Today sees the first day of the waiting period, though the current surf forecast suggests the main comp will start on Friday.
All the action from the IBA Box Pro is live at www.redbull.tv