Budge judged Barney?s best
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IT will never be said that the Open final of the Barney Miller Classic was a memorable one but try telling that to local surfer Gareth Budge.
After claiming $1000 in prizemoney and even more in prizes and trophies, Budge doesn't care if the final wasn't one that surfing legend is made of, he's the one who walked away with the title.
The four-man final was a high class field which also included former WCT professional Lee Winkler, Jake Mills and longboard specialist Harley Ingleby who was impressive all weekend long on the shorter board.
A morning south-westerly breeze had the Sawtell surf pumping yesterday but by the time the main event came around, the breeze changed to a south-easterly and inconsistent three-foot waves were all that was on offer for the 20-minute finale.
No matter how classy the surfers beyond the break were, mother nature was the victor as only 11 waves were caught throughout the final.
There was no doubting Budge was the deserved winner when time was called as he ahead on the cards of every judge.
Marty Brinkmyer was a sentimental victor in the over 28's section.
Brinkmyer was a winner in the open section of one of the early Barney Miller Classics but had not entered into the contest for an extended period of time.
Returning on the weekend, he showed that he had lost none of his ability to score the win ahead of Steve Simpson.
In the junior sections, locals dominated the prizes.
Coffs Harbour's Alex Swadling took the under 16's title while Sawtell surfer Billy Kean easily streeted the rest of the surfers in his final to take the crown in the under 18's section.
Fellow Sawtell surfer Kira Townsend dominated the girls' divisions.
She has been in outstanding form lately and that continued all weekend as she powered her way to victories in both the open women's and under 18's section.
The Barney Miller Classic can't get much bigger as the fields are now as jam packed as they could possibly be for a two-day event. Judging by the surfing that was on offer on the weekend despite the challenging conditions, the standard can't get much better either.