Le-Ba one to watch in Surf­tag fi­nal

The Northern Star - - SPORT - MITCHELL CRAIG mitchell.craig@northernstar.com.au

LEN­NOX-Bal­lina Board­rid­ers will be one of the favourites in the na­tional fi­nal of the Sailor Jerry Surf­tag event at Du­ran­bah Beach, Tweed Heads.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons North Shelly Board­rid­ers (Cen­tral Coast) will go into the event as the top seeds af­ter tak­ing out the New­cas­tle Qual­i­fier in Jan­uary.

Le-Ba looked set to win its qual­i­fier at Cabarita on Sun­day be­fore the Snap­per Rocks team stormed home late to re­strict them to sec­ond.

They had one of their stronger teams with Mar­cus Aboody, Stu Kennedy, Adam Melling, Zac Wight­man, James Wood and Finley James.

Wood was a stand-out on Satur­day and his pres­ence was missed the fol­low­ing day af­ter he left for a flight to Bali.

Le-Ba are no strangers to the event and last won it at Len­nox Head in 2012 with a pow­er­house team which in­cluded World Cham­pi­onship Tour surfer Owen Wright.

Kennedy and Melling have since come off the WCT and will make Le-Ba a for­mi­da­ble out­fit at the na­tional fi­nal on April 2728.

“We have a good team and the (Cabarita) week­end we showed what we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing”, Kennedy said.

“It's great to be rep­re­sent­ing the club along­side a few new guys that are com­ing through.

“We are re­ally con­cen­trat­ing on grow­ing the club and cre­at­ing a strong com­pet­i­tive cul­ture.”

Le-Ba were un­able to com­pete at all in the Surf­tag last year due to flood­ing and road clo­sures caused by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie.

The club has plenty of depth this year and have called Zac Wight­man into the team with the 19-year-old back in ac­tion af­ter suf­fer­ing a knee in­jury last year.

“Stoked to get the call-up to rep­re­sent Le-Ba,” Wight­man said.

“I re­ally en­joy surf­ing in team events, es­pe­cially with those guys as they have a ton of ex­pe­ri­ence and re­ally push my surf­ing.”

Mean­while, for­mer Le-Ba mem­bers Mikey and Owen Wright have reached the third round of the Mar­garet River Pro in West­ern Aus­tralia.

Sis­ter Tyler Wright has reached the quar­ter-fi­nals of the women’s event while By­ron Bay’s Matt Wilkin­son was elim­i­nated in the sec­ond round.

Photo: Ber­nadette McAlin­den

RIDE ON: Stu Kennedy surf­ing for Le-Ba in the Sailor Jerry Surf­tag team com­pe­ti­tion.

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