Ingleby claims Hot Tuna Classic
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
EMERALD Beach longboarder Harley Ingleby has begun the 2007 Australian tour in perfect fashion.
Competing in this country's biggest professional longboarding event, The Hot Tuna Summer Classic, Ingleby won the first event of the summer to put himself in a prime position to defend his title of Australian champion.
Surfing at Flinders on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula, Ingleby and the rest of the field enjoyed almost perfect conditions with excellent waves prevailing.
Northerly offshore winds under dark skies as Victoria enjoyed some much needed rain and Australia's best longboarders excelled in the conditions with outstanding nine-point plus rides common throughout the semi-finals and finals.
It was in the heat of the final when the local surfer's class shone through.
Ingelby's opening two rides in the 30-minute final were an 8.5 and an 8.55 out of a possible 10 within the first five minutes that placed him front for the entire final.
Sunshine Coast surfers Grant Thomas and Josh Constable seriously challenged for the lead with Thomas scoring an 8.5 ride and Constable an 8. Ingelby, however, surfed a super smart final as he patiently waited for an excellent wave that would allow him to improve on his previous two excellent rides.
Passing on plenty of good looking waves, he waited until there was five minutes remaining before deciding to take one of the larger set waves of the day.
A series of trademark outstanding drop knee cutbacks, hang tens and clean bottom turns saw him rewarded with the days top scoring ride of 9.5.
Ingelby's final heat score was an impressive 18.05 with Grant Thomas (Maroochydore) coming in second on 15.65, Josh Constable (Noosa) third on 15.50 and fellow Coffs harbour surfer Jared Neal fourth on 13.30.
"This is a fantastic event or me to win, it's the biggest event in Australia and just like last year here we've scored amazing surf," a thrilled Ingleby said.
"It's a great start to the season and I'm super keen to take a hat trick and win the Australian Longboard Circuit for the third year running. The world professional titles in Costa Rica later this year is my ultimate goal along with as many wins as possible."
Ingelby also praised the event organisers for running such a quality event.
"They picked the absolute best of the surf for us over the four day waiting period and made sure of an outstanding event," he said.
"It's setting new standards for professional Longboarding which is really good to see."
The next event on the Australian Longboard Circuit that Ingleby can claim valuable points in will be the Noosa Festival of Surfing in early March.