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Old 25.03.2010, 20:15   #1
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Default Lucky break for the winners of Red Bull heli surf!

Four surfers have been plucked by helicopter from the waters of their local breaks off the NSW coast to go on a once-in-a-lifetime secret spot surf trip with legendary Australian big wave rider Ross Clarke-Jones.

The quartet – one each from Newcastle, Curl Curl, Cronulla and North Wollongong – won their respective events in the Red Bull Heli Surf surf-paddling competition held on Saturday 27 February. As well as the ’chopper trip, the winners will each spend March 6-7 as Red Bull’s chauffeured, front-row VIP guests at the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast, the first contest on the 2010 ASP World Tour.

On standard surfboards no longer than 6’6” and no thicker than 2½”, 250 paddlers competed across the four staggered events. They raced through the break, to a buoy off-shore; the first one across the finish line was winched into the hovering Red Bull helicopter and flown to a secret surf spot down the South coast of NSW to spend the rest of the afternoon surfing and hanging with Ross Clarke-Jones.

Clarke-Jones, who returned to Australia especially for the event for just three days between Hawaiian big-wave contests, said, “when you get down to it, paddling is the most fundamental skill of surfing. I’m sure they’re going to paddle rings around me, what with my battered body from years of 50 ft wipeouts!”

The winners:
Newcastle – Peter Ives, 18, Hamlyn Terrace, NSW.
“My strategy was just to get out in front and use what rips were there to keep my lead. I knew I had it nailed when I rounded the first buoy – I had 15m on them. Being winched into the helicopter was insane. I can’t wait to get to the Quiksilver Pro and hopefully hang out with the Red Bull guys – Mick Fanning is the world champion!”

Curl Curl - Simon Flood, 27, Newport, NSW. P.E.
“I was really, really nervous. I just wanted to get off the beach as hard as I could, fast and furious. I got into my rhythm and didn’t look back. I am known as a demon paddler amongst my mates, yeah – they’d rather I didn’t go surfing with them, haha!”

Cronulla - Matt Hollman, 18, Cronulla NSW.
“I had a board specially made for the event! I had big expectations. I went down and ordered it three days ago, a really quick express delivery. It’s just like a big plank – it paddles quick, though. It’s 6’5½” and 2 3/8” thick so they couldn’t complain about it, and it’s 22 wide, haha! I got it under my arm, but it was a bit of a struggle. I won by less than a board length! Lucky I didn’t have to duckdive or it might have been a different story.”

North Wollongong - Ben Hearn, 30, Mount Pleasant NSW.
“I got the holeshot around the first buoy, dominated the field and won by 10-15m, easy. I’ve taken my tactics from watching the ski-cross at the Winter Olympics. I’d like to say a big thank you to Eddie McGuire.”

Red Bull Heli Surf will take place in QLD on Saturday 6 March at Coolum and Surfers Paradise beaches.
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