Classic went down to last ride
COFFS HARBOUR'S Jared Neal claimed a remarkable third straight retro-style fin victory at the Evans Head Malibu Classic.
Capping his dominance at the event, Neal also won the open nine foot division for the second time in three years.
Opposing surfers Matty Cook and Matt Aldridge challenged Neal right up until his final ride in the nine foot division.
"I thought it was really close even at the end of the final, but then I got a good wave with my last ride and I thought to myself 'that one was a keeper'," Neal, 28, said.
"Every time someone caught a wave you'd see a big turn or a long noseride.
"Cook and Aldridge were right up there and I thought the competition in the final was outstanding."
Neal excelled in Monday's huge swell, which was bigger than what he experienced the day before.
"The waves were bigger and that's how I prefer it," he said.
"Some of the other guys preferred the smaller waves but I've grown up surfing big waves at Coffs."
Neal has enjoyed coming up to the Evans Head Malibu Classic for the best part of a decade.
"I've come up to the last six or seven Evans titles," he said.
"I always see it as a big event on the surfing calendar. It's one of my favourite competitions."
Neal said he was not fazed about switching between his retro-style fin and nine foot boards.
"I've surfed different boards for a long time, whether that is a short, long, twin or single fin. I always loved doing it as I grew up riding shortboards, then took up longboard riding when I was 16."
It has been a big year for Neal.
He won the New South Wales longboard title in June, before finishing ninth at the World Longboarding Championships in Sri Lanka.
"Getting ninth was a good result but I want to do better at the next world championship event in Italy in four weeks' time," he said.
"I'm a carpenter by trade, so I have to work to fund my travels, but Billy Tolhust is a board shaper in Coffs and he's helped me with some sponsorship."