Harley a close second
AUSTRALIAN longboard champion Harley Ingleby from Emerald Beach has finished equal second in the Classic Malibu Pro at Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast.
Held in half metre wind swept waves, competitors made the most of conditions with some amazing longboard surfing in difficult conditions.
It was a slow start to the final but a helter-skelter last two minutes provided an exciting finish to a great event.
Ingelby opened the scoring with a 6.0 ride in the 25 minute final, but then Jarred Neal dominated scoring an 8.0, 5.75, and 6.75 for his first three waves.
Defending Classic Malibu Pro champion Jackson Close then scored an 8.25 for his first wave to be within striking distance of Neal for the remainder of the final.
Thomas suffered a frustrating waveless final and with four minutes remaining Thomas still had not caught his opening wave.
In the final two minutes remaining Close grabbed his second wave but it was not enough to grab the lead.
Then with a minute to go it was an intense exchange with Harley Ingleby and Jarred Neal catching a wave each and staking their claim to the title.
But with 20 seconds remaining Close grabbed a wave and carved it to the beach and as the scores from judges hit the computer screens the lead changed three times with Close getting the nod by only 0.35.
Ingleby finished second on a count back from his Coffs Harbour mate, Jarred Neal who went from first to third in the last minute of the heat, after leading for most of the final.
Close was one very happy man, the win helping pay for his trip to Hawaii with his girlfriend Jamie.
"There was 20 seconds to go when I got that wave," Close said beaming with his win.
"I knew it was do or die so I put every thing into it, I still cant believe I have done it two years in a row."