On a winning wave
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
LIFE just keeps getting sweeter for Australasia's number one rated longboard rider.
After many times falling just short of the finish line, Harley Ingleby finally won the Golden Breed Australian Open in October last year.
That qualified him for any events on the world tour this year and in the first two events of the tough Australasian tour in 2006 the Emerald Beach surfer is already at the top of the tree with a runner up finish at the Sunshine Coast and a win down at Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.
This afternoon, one of the biggest events on the Australian surfing calendar gets under way at Noosa for the Festival of Surf where the elite longboarders have gathered and Ingleby is one of the favourites to take the trophy.
"This is my fourth year at Noosa but how I go depends a lot on the surf," the 22 year-old said.
"If the swell is good from the first point and they're breaking properly then it's really good consistent surf for everyone. If it's not then they'll have to move the event and anything can happen then.
"It's going to be really hard because there's a few really good Sunshine Coast surfers who are always hard to beat and they surf regularly at Noosa."
Ingleby is not the only local with dreams of glory this week as Jared Neal, Michael Bellamy, Paul Scholten and Rory Hugginson will be joining him at the Festival of Surf.
The Coffs Harbour crew will be able to keep a close eye on each other if the accommodation set up is any guide.
"There's myself, Michael and Rory all staying in an apartment together and Jared is in the one next door," he said.
Being in a group together has it's advantages and Ingleby believes that it also creates a friendly rivalry among them.
"We go out together but we take the contest seriously if we're in the same heat together," he explained.
"But it's not like we don't talk to each other the day before a heat or anything."
As longboarding doesn't receive the same amount of exposure that the champs with the smaller boards receive, Ingleby is excited about the prospect of travelling the world for competitions but knows that he'll have to dip into his own pocket to get there.
"I've got some sponsors and that helps but it's hard to put a dollar amount on it," the natural footer said.
"When I'm in America I've got friends I go and stay with and that makes it easier but if I go to the events in Europe then it's pretty hard.
"With longboarding it's not like you get your picture plastered everywhere for winning it."
Ingleby's face might not get to be seen worldwide for an audience of millions but it seems that's just way he'd like it.
A couple of sponsors, a board and a good break is all he really wants.