Avoca Win Men's Surftag, Long Reef Win The Series

In massive surf at Queenscliff Beach, Avoca Boardriders Club have held off fast finishing North Narrabeen Boardriders to take out the SURFTAG Men’s event on Saturday while Long Reef Boardriders took out the 2022 SURFTAG title.

Was that “massive” surf? It’s a trope that surfers tend to under-estimate the height of waves – no-one likes a big-noter.

“But it’s been easy eight foot,” SURFTAG chief Steve Harrison told The Beaches Champion. “Sometimes bigger.

“It’s been a huge day.”

It was a huge day for Long Reef which capped a huge six weeks for the booming Northern Beaches club.

While their team finished just out of the men’s final in fifth position, a win in the Junior event, second placings in Master’s and Grommet’s, and a third in the Women’s, saw Long Reef finish on 4060 points, runaway winners over a tight chasing pack of North Narrabeen (3535), Queenscliff (3365) and North Avalon (3345).

Kobi Clements - Long Reef Boardriders (Bernadette Johnson)

North Shelly, Elouera, Bondi, Scarborough, Dee Why and Maroubra rounded out the top ten.

Asked for the secret to Long Reef’s success, team manager Tim Grainger said “depth”.

“We did really well but one thing people don’t know, we didn’t even field our best sides. 

"We had lot of people away so people had to step in. And that’s the biggest thing: people came in and did the job.

“Everyone wants to do their best for the club. They’re proud to surf for the club. And that’s not just surfers. Supporters, families, everyone wants the club to do well,” Grainger said.

Long Reef Boardriders (Bernadette Johnson)

Participation at Long Reef is booming. This year was the first that they fielded a women’s team in SURFTAG. 

“We’re big on diversity and inclusion at the club," Grainger said. "Everyone’s welcome. Traditionally it’s been a hard thing to get women into boardriding clubs. We want to build on our success."

The men’s event at Queenscliff was an exciting affair which saw Avoca post a commanding 77.91 including a four-point bonus for using all five surfers.

In fact they’d used them all with 20 minutes of the final to go, which meant a nervous wait as powerful North Narrabeen came from behind to post big numbers.

Davey Cathels - North Narrabeen Boardriders (Bernadette Johnson)

With three waves to go North Narrabeen needed 33 points. Tough but not impossible.

Kai Warner got them within 21 points with one big hit. It was all up to Jack Bannister. Two waves and 21 points? Again, tough but do-able.

Bannister’s first wave recorded 4.57. He’d need more than seven.

Minutes passed. Bannister had them up his sleeve.

Then he finally got on one. The event came down to this. He rode it hard. There was a cutback. And another one. It was a fine ride.

As he rode in on his belly judges did their thing. The score?

6.17. Double it. Add a two-point bonus and … Avoca had won by 2.05 points.

Avoca were best served by their fifth surfer Finn Hill who scored 20.89 in his two waves.

He said it was a nervous 20-minute wait on shore.

“But we were very confident coming down here,” Hill said. “We always thought we were in with a good show at this beach.”

Early on the surf was so big that to reduce paddling time the ‘tag’ nature of the event was modified so that two surfers from each team were out all times. They still had to surf in order but one guy could bob about out the back.

A blustery sou-easter kept things cool while the 'Beach Closed' signs showed that only experts should enter the water.

Jarvis Earle - Elouera Boardriders (Bernadette Johnson)

Seconds into the final one did: Avoca’s Sandon Whitaker ripping off an 8.00. His 15.8 for two waves got the Central Coast crew away to an early lead.

Van Whiteman of North Avalon Surfriders – famous “NASA” – was disappointed with 2.50 and a 1.63 double-score power wave. So was Davey Cathels of North Narrabeen with 1.43

But there were scores out there. And Cathels collected: from the very tip of a monster he amassed 14.66 on his power wave to get North Narrabeen straight back amongst the leaders.

“There’s plenty of early nerves and some mistakes early on. But the mistakes are evenly spread,” declared commentator Ryan Bridges.

Elouera’s Ben Dewhurst broke his board in half – not ideal. Particularly when Cooper Chapman delighted fans with a 6.17 power wave that sent North Narrabeen into the lead.

But Avoca hit back – Lennox Chell ripping off 7.00 and 5.10 power wave.

Meanwhile Arch Whiteman of NASA waited for a power wave. Patience led to nearly 15 points. Pretty good. But still 12 points last. With 30 minutes to go. They would need a miracle.

There would be no miracle. Byron Stapleton ripped off a 6.37 power wave for Avoca. Finn Hill hit a 7.53. They were running away with it.

When Hill posted 6.67 on the power wave the title was theirs – it just took them a while to own it.

After two years lost to Covid-19, event organiser Harrison was thrilled that the SURFTAG Series – now in its 19th year – is now a five-event series.

“It’s been a massive few months and glad to be back running the Series,” Harrison told The Beaches Champion. “

“The inclusion of the Grommet’s and Master’s events was a huge success and good to see the old boys representing their boardriding club’s. With up to twenty-five surfers competing for each club over the five events, SURFTAG really does crown the best club in the Country.”       

2022 SURFTAG Series Final Rankings  

  1. Long Reef Boardriders                 4060
  2. North Narrabeen Boardriders    3535
  3. Queenscliff Boardriders Club     3365
  4. North Avalon Surfriders               3345
  5. North Shelly Boardriders             3225
  6. Elouera Boardriders Club            2810
  7. Bondi Boardriders                        2680
  8. Scarborough Boardriders Club   2560
  9. Dee Why Surfing Fraternity        1560
  10. Maroubra United                         1560
  11. Avoca Boardriders                        1475
  12. Merewether Surfboard Club      1170
  13. Bronte Boardriders                      1005
  14. Freshwater Boardriders Inc        975
  15. Mona Vale Boardriders               925
  16. North Shore Boardriders             730
  17. Cronulla Girls Boardriders          610
  18. North Steyne Benches                 610
  19. Cronulla Sharks Boardriders       555
  20. Curly United Boardriders            555
  21. North Shelly B Team                    555
  22. Sandon Point Boardriders           555
  23. Torquay Boardriders Club           555
  24. Cronulla Girls B Team                  475
  25. Queenscliff Boardriders B Team   450
  26. Queenscliff Boardriders C Team   450
  27. Newport Plus Boardriders           413
  28. Ulladulla Boardriders                   400

The 2022 SURFTAG Series is proudly supported by Surf Culture Bondi, Guzman y Gomez, The Manly Club, Beachfox Sunscreen, Pine Property, Swellnet, Manly Observer, Tawny Frogmouth and Lifeline Northern Beaches.

  2022 SURFTAG Series 

  1.  Junior Surftag Presented by Guzman y Gomez – 13/14 August, Dee Why Beach  
  2.  Grommet’s SURFTAG Presented by Surf Culture Bondi – 27/28 August, Queenscliff Beach
  3.  Women’s SURFTAG Presented by Beachfox - 10/11 September, Dee Why Beach  
  4.  Master’s SURFTAG Presented by The Manly Club – 24/25 September, Curl Curl Beach
  5.  Men’s SURFTAG – 1/2 October, Queenscliff Beach  

SURFTAG Website – www.surftag.au
SURFTAG Results - https://liveheats.com/surftag 
SURFTAG Socials - @surftagseries       


truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Friday, 7 Oct 2022 at 11:40pm

Crew thank Team Swellnet for their many years of frontline support.
The presentation of SURFTAG over the years has been superb.
This allowed tbb & crew to follow our Team & others thru the season.
Well done Craig / Alex / Jaya / Josh...yes, the crew notice your frontline effort!

Special mention to founder...Steve Harro Harrison
Matt Cleary ( Gold Standard Write Ups & Comp Round Ups )
Bernadette Johnson (#1 Oz Surf Action Photographer)
Crew notice swellnet has a huge back catalogue of Bernadette's Explosive Photos.
Anyhow! Crew are requesting a well overdue background tribute for our action packed Bernadette!
tbb has tracked our Surf Tag spray Queen back to her Clubbie Years...lively photos continued from then.

2001 Surf Tag begins 2008 Women 2022 Gromz U/14 ~ U/18 + Masters + Classic

tbb found a great promo that salutes all our Lifeline heroes swellnet / Craig / Harro / Matt / Bernadette
Yes indeed...This should do just nicely...crew send a huge thanx to all the Surf Tag team...Take a bow!

Plenty of great Photos / Vidz / All Results on brilliant web site!