The first of our Usher Cup, World Club Challenge internationals have arrived with San Clemente touching down on the Gold Coast this morning. The team from California in the United States were greeted by surfing Royalty in Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew who presented the team with a number of Australian themed gifts including you koalas.
It was a welcome return to Australia and Snapper for former World Tour surfer Nate Yeomans who attributed the continued success and growth of the Usher Cup to the now thriving American Boardriders fraternity.
“I think growing up and coming over here and seeing what Australia had and America hasn’t had that and so it’s new and seeing the success you guys have had here and now to see it start off with just couple of teams and now grow to I think twenty teams across the US.”
At forty-two years of age, Yeomans has been waiting for an opportunity to avenge demons dating back some fourteen years.
“The last time I was here was on the CT I think in 2010, I didn’t do that well in the comp, so I have got some redemption to do, yeah.”
Yeomans who skippers the San Clemente team saying the opportunity to visit the Gold Coast and compete at Snapper is a career highlight for his young teammates.
“We pulled up, the waves are firing and it’s so nice out, it was cold at home and we are going to be in boardshorts and get to surf out here and then to have Rabbit greet us is like, dude, just roll out the red carpet, we are here”
“It’s such an iconic wave and to roll into a swell like this and San Clemente, Lowers is kind of like our version of what you have and it’s always crowded it’s like a premier wave and we have had them there with no one out and now to be able to come here and surf here with I don’t know four other guys out , I am forty two and I am more frothing than a fricking ten year old grommet.”
Likewise, Jeremy Carter is as eager to experience Australia’s Boardriders club culture as he is to surf the famed Snapper break.
“It started in San Clemente four or five years ago and since then it’s become huge with more and more clubs being added along the Coast and our town has so many good surfers so just being here and representing San Clemente is awesome.”
“It’s going to be incredible; I just hope I get to catch a couple of fun waves and if I have someone cool to surf with in my heat, that will be a rad experience.”
For Ian Crane, surfing a pumping and cleared Snapper is well worth the almost twenty hours of travel time from San Clemente.
If you get one of these marquee waves with the line-up cleared and if there is swell and you have got four guys in the water, or however many people are in a heat, you could potentially get one of the best waves of your life so that’s probably the coolest part about surfing in contests at waves like this, it’s just a privilege.”
While the thrill of competing in a team’s event is what Kirra Pinkerton is most looking forward to.
“I think it’s super cool, doing regular contests with just yourself and you are surfing against another person, it’s a lot of pressure on yourself, but when you have a team, I feel like it’s a lot more fun, especially when you’re at a wave like snapper.”
The Usher Cup World Club Challenge kicks off on the 18th of January, running through to the 21st with male and female competitors vying for equal prize money.