(Merewether, NSW, AUSTRALIA 19 February 2016)
AND then there were 10.
That’s how many Newcastle Indigenous Classic trophies Russell Molony has lining the mantelpiece after winning the 2016 Wandiyali ATSI Indigenous Classic – Australia’s richest surfing competition for Indigenous surfers – at Merewether beach today.
But there’s no talk of Molony stepping down and letting someone else take the prize money in 2017.
“I’m going to go until I can’t walk,” Molony responded when asked how many more titles he is aiming for.
The 39-year-old put the clock on hold and pocketed $6000 for his efforts in the north-easterly affected waves up to two metres. Besides the 10 Indigenous titles the Shelley Beach carpenter has won at Newcastle, he also has an Australian title, an Indigenous national title and he came fourth in the world at the International Surfing Association Games at Panama in 2013.
Molony always looked the winner at this event, even though he faced some tough competition on his way to the winner’s dais from Indigenous surfers from around the nation including Otis Carey, Robbie Page and Joey Haddon.
Molony said he loved this event and loved the camaraderie it provided.
“I just want to pass on how healthy surfing is. It’s just an amazing pastime and the more kids we can get into it the better it is for our communities and Aboriginal people.
“The prize money was an added incentive and I promised my son we would have an overseas trip if I won. I want to take my girlfriend and my boy Zane away so it’s going to be great fun,” he said.
Molony’s mob can start packing the bags.
Molony will next surf at the Kirra Teams Challenge for North Shelley boardriders. And then there’s another ‘top secret’ event on the Gold Coast before the Quiksilver Pro, before he heads back to Bells for the National Indigenous Titles in May.
“I’m looking forward to Bells because it’s all the same mob and we sit around and tell a yarn and it’s just a good feeling. It’s an amazing event and I just love coming up here and surfing. It’s a different kind of event – all the Indigenous events are just such great fun,” Molony said.
Norah Head’s Noel Munro, who took home the junior crown at this year’s event, was runner-up to Molony. The 16-year-old has been competing at the Wandiyali for the past three years and will be lining up here again tomorrow for this weekend’s nib Pro Junior.
Thirteen-year-old Leilani ‘Lily’ Smith took out the women’s event. The Central Coast regional champion, who surfs for Avoca boardriders, already has a swag of titles under her belt. Today she added another trophy to a cabinet that includes runner-up spots last year in both the Occy Grom Comp and the Rip Curl Grom Search.
Wandiyali ATSI CEO Steve Kilroy said the 2017 Wandiyali Indigenous Classic will be as big as ever.
“It’s just such a positive event and we are all so proud of everyone involved. We aren’t going anywhere. See you all next year,” he said.
Results of the 2016 Wandiyali ATSI Indigenous Classic
1. Russell Molony
2. Noah Munro
3. Joey Haddon
4. Joe Wallace
1. Leilani Smith
2. Phoebe King
3. Summer Simon
4. Charli Law
1. Noah Munro
2. Finn Hill
3. Summer Simon
4. Jed McDonagh