Rip Curl’s Tully Wylie, Xavier Huxtable and Harry Mann made history last weekend in the first-ever wave pool event run in Australia, placing first, second and third respectively in the 2020 Melbourne Pool Party.
Run by Surfing Victoria and presented by URBNSURF, this landmark event brought together over 60 of Victoria’s best surfers to put on a show and display the depth of local talent coming out of Victoria’s Surf Coast region. Due to the rapidly evolving issues around COVID-19, the event was held with no spectators and essential staff and competitors only.
Exhibiting an innovative format that mimics a snowboard-style leaderboard, surfers were given multiple rides on each side of the pool in a test of overall surfing ability.
“This was my first time competing in a wave pool,” said event champion Tully Wylie. “There’s not as much strategy but it’s definitely more nerve-wracking… you know you have the wave, and it’s all about what you do on it and making sure you perform.”
Coming down to the final two waves of the men’s final, the Surf Coast’s Tully Wylie and Xavier Huxtable were in a duel to become the first ever wave pool event champions.
Needing a 5.40 on his final wave, all the pressure was on Tully Wylie to get the score and leapfrog Xavier Huxtable into the lead. With a big turn followed by a short barrel and finishing manoeuvre, Tully was able to claim a 6.17 and the lead. Xavier had one more wave to better his previous ride (an 8.97) however fell short.
“It was so cool to compete against guys that are some of my best friends, all of us Victorians… we’re all pretty close,” continued Tully. “Having myself, Xav and Harry in the final was so cool. I was really happy to get the win.”
Harry Mann, formed Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach wildcard, was thrilled to make it to the Final heat.
“I’d only surfed at URBNSURF about six times,” said Harry. “It was pretty surreal paddling out in dead flat water and waiting for the machine to start. You’ve got to be so focused on performance, rather than priority and strategy.
“Making the Final though… that was so enjoyable to just be surfing with friends and having everyone hooting and watching from the wall. Of course I wanted to win, but really I just wanted to make the Final so that I could surf a few more waves with my mates!
“It was really nice to just go surf and do something cool and new. Everyone left the pool stoked and happy, which is epic with all the bad news around the world right now.”
The other divisions saw Australian Champion Longboarder and Rip Curl team rider Ben Considine from Barwon Heads take top honours. His combination of stylish surfing and expert footwork put him ahead of the pack and saw him through to a win.
The women’s side of the draw saw Rip Curl E-Commerce Manager Amy Stewart compete against the top in the state. “I haven’t competed in so long and it was epic to get in the water with all of the best surfers from around Victoria,” said Amy. “It reminds you what a talented crop of surfers we have locally in Victoria and here at Rip Curl, too.”
Congratulations to all those who took home trophies and had the opportunity to compete in Surfing Victoria’s Melbourne Pool Party, presented by URBNSURF… you made history with Australia’s first-ever wave pool event!
Full results can be found on www.surfingvic.com