The chips were down with a range of leading riders unavailable to compete, but the Shoes brigade rose to the occasion to log an historic high placing at the annual King of the Beach.
The tournament that sorts out the wheat from the chaff along the Cronulla coastline didn’t disappoint with great enthusiasm, a mix of poor to good waves, dramas and a nail biting finish.
Under the stewardship of Matt Mulder and Jack Horner, the Shoes squad surfed way above itself to post a third position in the elimination rounds to make the final showdown for the first time in the contest’s history.
Here’s a blow-by-blow description from Jack Horner:
“1st heat, 5 opens and girl surfer. Who do we nominate as our power surfer? Let’s go Jack Irvin. There’s a few good lefts out there and he has a great bank-hand snap. Could be big points there. Matt’s recruit, Kylie Jones – on her lunch break from Triple Bull – surfs great and catches her waves quickly with solid scores.
“Things are looking better. Next in is Jacob Boylan. Doesn’t surf the beach much but exceeds expectations and puts two solid rides together.
“Now into the fray are the Cook brothers…a triple treat or so-so? Benny is far from disgraced, but time is our enemy; we need the bonus points. Matty gets two good ones and surfs unreal hitting backhand snap after another. Things are looking brighter but what will we get from Danny? There are good lefts out there and it could suit the shoes alley specialist. Not to disappoint, Danny hooked into a couple of lefts and tared them apart. Satisfying end to round 1.
“Round 2. Most teams throw out their under14 surfers first. Not Shoes, We put John Tuck in first, nominate him as the power surfer and intimidate the other clubs groms! Tuck latched onto a couple of Alley lefts and snapped, slashed and milked the B’Jesus out of em. Looking better now.
“Super grom, Nathan Martin, goes into the fray, showing what a surfer of the future he is by nailing a couple of big turns and handing the batten off to Nathan Hatheier who after a slow start finished strong to keep the momentum going.
“Matt Cook was next in, riding a board that was as thick as the 1980’s McCoys. But somehow made some nice turns on two waves and got the job done quick to give Reece Moffatt enough time. Reece struggled but eventually got two decent ones and that left Cabbo about 3 minutes to finish in time.
“It looked like Mission Impossible for Cabs, but not to worry, fortunately he caught one wave and picked up vital points.
“While the tallying of points waqs in progress, Reece surfed in the Expresion Session and was showing good form. Tuck was at the officials tent making sure the Christians weren’t going to pull a swiftie.
“Finally the official call came through, Shoes Third! Well in front of Garie, the Christians and The Point. We were all going off. Then Mulder comes back and says the teams below us are blowing up. Official results are on hold. After a 10 minute delay our dreams are confirmed. Shoes into the finals for the first time.
“Tuck’s comment: “We are no longer a feeder club; we’re in the big league now”.
“Finals time now. Let’s pick form surfers. Tuck, Reece, Mulder, Danny and Irvin.
Reece leads us off with a solid effort. Tuck consistent as ever picks off two good waves and we are matching Garie. Mulder is in next and in good form and the skipper is the power surfer. He leads by example and puts in a polished effort.
“Danny Cook next and goes to town on the lefts. Everyone is frothing on Danny’s efforts and there are high 5’s aplenty. Irvin is last and the crucial bonus points are on offer. He catches two quick one and secures the bonus points.
“Is it enough to beat Garie and finish 3rd. Either way all the Shoes boys are stoked to have made the final and have a dig.
“We finished 4th but that gives us the goal to get that 3rd spot next year!”
Big congratulations to all the team and management. All members should feel stoked and proud. The Reef rules!