The two champions, both from the NSW Central Coast, have been long standing participants at the event and have finally broken through for their maiden Open wins.
Hill progressed through the draw over the past three days with vigour, besting former champion Russel Molony as well as 2018 Masters Champion Anthony Hume on his way to the final where he eventually overtook 2017 winner Otis Carey (Coffs Harbour, NSW).
“I’m stoked to get the win in the Open, said Hill. “I came down a couple of years ago and faced Otis in the final where he got me. I look up to him as a surfer and a person so much, I’m just so happy to get the win.” - Finn Hill
Finishing on a heat total of 15.83, Hill locked in an excellent 8.33 score on his second ride to put Carey on the ropes early. Carey pushed back on his final two rides however ultimately fell short finishing with a heat total of 13.70.
“It was really fun out in the water. The vibes were relaxed, I think that is one of the best things about this event. This event and everyone involved is like a big family. You never feel excluded or put out and everyone is so loving. It is one of the most incredible events in the country.”
Torquay surfer Jordie Campbell finished in equal third after being knocked out by Otis Carey in the Semi Finals along with Byron Simon (Forster, NSW).
Jasmine McCorquodale used her experience from attending the event in the past to get the win in the Open Women’s and take one of the closest finals at the event. “I’m honestly still in shock,” said McCorquodale. “It was such a close final between me and Latisha, just to get the win feels awesome.”
Finishing on a heat total of 11.34, McCorquodale took the win in the final over Latisha Clark who finished in second. Clark only required a 3.68 point ride to take the lead however fell agonizingly short on her final wave scoring a 3.63 and finishing with a heat total of 11.30.
“Everyone is so close at this event, it feels less like a competition and more like a family gathering. The vibe is amazing. Summer Simon (former event champion) is such an inspiration, to finally break through the barrier and win is awesome.”
Bohdie Simon and Jarrah Clark finished in third and fourth respectively.
The Masters division (Over 35) was equally as hotly contested with some of the stalwarts of the event going head to head in the small clean waves.
Coming out on top for his first ever event win was Scott Winch (Sandon Point, NSW) who finished with a heat total of 14.34 to beat former event winner Robbie Page (Kempsy, NSW) who finished on 11.00 points.
“It’s a privilege to win such a prestigious event for Aboriginal people. I surfed in the first ever Indigenous Invitational event in 1996 and came second and I’m just stoked to finally win one! Coming up against guys like Pagey (Robbie Page) is such a privilege. It pushes you and makes you lift your performance." - Scott Winch
“Surfing is such an important vehicle for our mob to be able to have proper functioning lives. Half of the kids in juvenile justice are Aboriginal and this event is so important to move forward into the future as an Aboriginal community.”
Winning the Longboard Division was Matt Molony who finished on 16.27 heat total. Coming in second was Mitch Keighran (Mullaway, NSW)) with Robbie Page and Donny James in third and fourth.
The Junior Divisions saw Finn Hill and Summer Simon claim wins. Whilst the Elders Expression session saw Donny James claim the win with Brook Silvester in second.
Full Results, video and photos for the event can be found at australianindigenoussurfingtitles.com