Ethan Ewing victorious at the Burleigh Heads Single Fin Festival

Rick Snowden
Swellnet Dispatch

The 23rd Burleigh Heads Single Fin Festival wrapped today with the North Straddie's Ethan Ewing taking the open division win in predictably mediocre Gold Coast conditions.

Mr Ewing took down reigning champ Joel Parkinson in the throwback event which is based around the Stubbies comps held at the same location from 1977 to 1988. 

As the name suggests, competitors must not ride a craft with more than one fin, and this board must have been birthed before 1985.

Having restricted performance capabilities underfoot requires a different approach to wave riding. Lines change, pivot points shift, and a different shade of one’s technique is revealed – the results of which can go either way.

Watch any of the footage from the weekend and you’ll see that both Ethan and Parko (among others!) are more than capable of maintaining silky flow sans side skegs.

 

 

For surfing, the year generally finishes up rammed with World Title battles, Triple Crowns, Pipe Masters, Facebook streams, sponsors, qualification angst, and general blood pressure-elevating surf happenings. A laissez faire contest like this is just what the doctor ordered, for spectators and competitors alike.

There’s no priority controversies here, no hops or forced spins, no storming the judge’s quarters, not even a fat cheque. Instead it’s gentle swoops, highlines, arched spines and smiles. The winner receives a custom handshaped board. This year it was a slender Mt Woodgee, shaped by Ian Byrne, exquisitely decorated by artist Willy Nichols.

First place trophy

Adding to the good spirit is the fundraiser element, with proceeds tipping back into the local surf community fostering up-and-coming talent.

Gaining momentum year after year, recognisable names saturate the heat draws that include everything from the latest CT weapons, to comp retirees, shapers, groms - some of whom riding craft three times their age - across three official divisions.

This year the lineup included defending champ, Joel Parkinson, Occy, Luke Egan, Margo (and son, Micah), Harrison Roach, Shaun Manners, Ethan Ewing, Mitch Crews, Louie Hynd, vet surf journo/podcast mogul Vaughan Blakey, Felicity Palmateer, Jaleesa Vincent, Jai Glindeman, and Burleigh local featherweights, Rico Haybittle and Chez Bos.

Measly waist high conditions greeted competitors on the first day giving those who brought their more buoyant craft a slight advantage, while Sunday revealed a marginally better canvas for those still in the running.

Earlier in the final day Ethan Ewing scored a standout 8, linking a bunch of neat redirections on his Geoff Darby 6’0”. So impressive was Ethan’s game throughout the weekend, that before the final Parko appropriately named Ethan the guy to beat. Let’s hope this becomes a common sentiment in the year ahead as Mr Ewing rejoins the big league. 

As beers were drained, heroes, groms and spectators mingled on the grass. Occy was spotted with sandpaper in hand applying some last minute repair work to his aged craft before dominating the heritage final. Dimity Stoyle reigned supreme in the women’s division and young Ty Richardson won the groms.

Winner of the juniors, Ty Richardson

As always the stars of the show were the boards themselves. So much character, so many stories, crafted by shapers present and passed, all on display for public affection. 

The Burleigh Singly is a welcome break from the highly strung, logo-infused competition of our modern era, a way to pass on historical appreciation to the next generation and a homage to both creators and riders of these slices of sunkissed surf history.

It’s a weekend of browned glass, soul arching, yarns, bevVies, music and a twist of light-hearted competitive spirit. No wonder the retro shindig is often referred to by its regulars as the best weekend of the year. 

May surf events of this kind never die.

//RICK SNOWDEN

Comments

Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean's picture
Lanky Dean commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 6:30am

When will the ho family get an invite ?

belly's picture
belly's picture
belly commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 7:58am

X-over with decade predictions thread - Ewing WCT world title 2027.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 8:32am

Ewing’s surfing has been on rotation when I’m looking to get pumped for a session in recent times. He appears to have a nice bit of momentum to add to his enviable style and searing rail game. Loving this little clip.

Snapper , J Bay should be highlights . Gut feeling says France will be his peak , based on .....not much at all.

https://youtu.be/_at3UXSDpvM

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 8:46am

hows the turn at 0.11!!

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 9:20am

"Having restricted performance capabilities underfoot requires a different approach to wave riding. Lines change, pivot points shift, and a different shade of one’s technique is revealed."

Gotta say Stu, I'm not seeing any of this in the clip above. I love Ethan's surfing, but can't help thinking he's still trying to surf that single like it's got three fins.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 9:42am

Not my words, SS.

Though I agree with Rick. He's not getting projection out of the turns as he would on a three or four fin board.

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 11:42am

Apologies Stu, could have sworn I saw your name in the byline when I first read it.

But my point was that he's trying to ride it like a thruster, not that he's succeeding in the attempt. It just looks forced and disjointed to me (just one ageing kook's opinion).

And yes Rick, I think muscle memory is playing a big role. I think it needs a intellectual/psychological shift, as well as a physical one, to getting the most out of that style of board.

What are the judging criteria for this comp? Surely they can't be the same as is applied to your standard high-performance WSL-ish contest? You'd think the emphasis would err towards flow, style, grace and connecting the turns smoothly, rather than the size of the spray and manoeuvres in the critical sections of the wave.

And no, the waves don't really look like they came to the party...

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Rick Snowden's picture
Rick Snowden's picture
Rick Snowden commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 2:27pm

I didn't catch enough of the other competitor's rides to comment on judging. Anyone on here see the final and care to share some insight?

I'd like to think style and flow was rewarded more so in this event than conventional contests. I'm sure the video wrap will be released soon and we might get a better perspective. Either way, in my opinion he is far more pleasing to watch compared with many others on the QS and CT.

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 3:38pm

That's for sure, particularly in waves like big Sunset. Can't wait to see him having another crack at Bells...

Don't let the bastards grind you down

Rick Snowden's picture
Rick Snowden's picture
Rick Snowden commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 11:08am

Muscle memory perhaps? Either way it worked for him in keeping the thing moving through those soft sections.

Hopefully this year he'll tune up in the heavier stuff and cover all bases.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 9:40am

burleybodybash'nbuny!p salutes #1 swellnet.
Burley Goldie Qldurr surfin' is in the best of hands.
Thanx Dispatch / Stu / Rick fantastic teamwork.
May Monday morning local surf wraps of this kind never die!
So Stokeded to be Singleded Out by swellnet *****

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 12:21pm

That trophy is a very nice looking surfboard. Ewing looked good - based on that short clip the surfing reminds me a bit of Cheyne Horan when he was still riding the flyer pintail McCoys.

onetimeonly

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 5:47pm

Bloke could ride an ironing board out there. Wouldn’t know it wasn’t a thruster under his feet.

PS- love his surfing, hope he gets that seed higher early in season. Think he’ll do well.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno commented Monday, 13 Jan 2020 at 6:23pm

That clip of Ethan, with the pivot and the driving turns, I thought I was looking at a young Cheyne - late 70's/early 80's.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Friday, 24 Jan 2020 at 10:39pm

burleybodybash'nbuny!p ...rewards the #1 swellnet crew with the wrap up!

2020 Burleigh Single Fin Classic Surflick (thanx Miami Pub)
https://vimeo.com/384431747

Full Comp Results (thanx to live heats)
Men 1-Ethan / 2 Joel / 3 O Anwar / 4 L O'Brien / 5 L Hynde/ 6 M Crews

Women 1-D Stoyle/ 2 F Palmeteer/ 3 P Light/ 4 C Mulley/ 5 A Gain/ 6 P Bunker

Heritage 1-Occy/ 2 B Gerlach/ 3 G Ormerod/ 4 L Egan/ 5 Margo/ 6 P Harris

Groms 1-T Richardson/ 2 T Tanaka/ 3 L Smales/ 4 T Whitpaine/ 5 N Dore/ 6 C Bos

Full competitor list...
https://liveheats.com/events/2653

Photos - (thanx Duncan Mcfarlane)
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=ms.c.eJxllEduBFAIQ280ovhT7n~_xSM...

2019 Burleigh Single Fin Classic (Recap)
https://mysurf.tv/video/5986626430001

https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2017/01/11/parkos-single...

Burleigh Heads Locals & crew thank Rick & swellnet for the Comp Page.