From the 16th to the 23rd of February, the Australian National Wavesailing Championships took place in Gerroa, New South Wales. The Australian Nationals is an annual event running since 1986 and open to everyone where having fun is the most important part. Last year's Championship was won by Jaeger Stone who managed to beat Ben Severne, the man behind international brand, in a close final. This year, and after 8 days of competition , Mr. Ben Severne won the title for the second time of his career. For more pictures of the event, visit White Caps Photography.
Starboard: Congratulations on the title Ben! This is your second Australian Wavesailing Championships title, which one was harder to win?
Ben Severne: They’re all hard to win! It’s usually a matter of getting a few things to go your way – waves, bit of luck, sunscreen on the other guy’s boom...
Starboard: Can you quickly walk us through the competition format and story behind the Australian Wavesailing Championships? What's up with the "beer drinking contest" on the side?
Ben Severne: The competition side of it is very standard – man on man, double elimination. There’s a great team of people that run the event over there, so it was all pretty slick. But it is a wavesailing event and it is in Australia so obviously there’s going to be a few beers going down.
Don’t know anything about the beer competition though – definitely wouldn’t have taken that title!
Starboard: How where the conditions in Gerroa? How does the spot work with eastern winds?
Ben Severne: We probably scored the worst week of the season in Gerroa. Some of the conditions we tried to sail in were horrific, but we still managed to sail every day except one.
Luckily, the last day of the event came through with the goods, and whilst it wasn’t classic, sunny Gerroa it was still head high and powered on a 4.7m² so can’t complain too much. It seems there’s a setup there that will handle just about any wind direction, so it’s really a great windsurfing location.
Starboard: What were you sailing on? Is that becoming your go-to setup? How does the S-1 complement the NuEvo?
Ben Severne: Yeah, the last day was perfect for a NuEvo 80 so all felt pretty comfortable. The S-1 has a lot of squirt, so for a wave contest it’s ideal as you can instantly accelerate whenever you need. Having a really light rig is critical after sailing a few heats and burning all your energy. I always think of the weight the other guy is swinging around with his rig, and it makes me feel a little better…
Starboard: The NuEvo is the only waveboard in the Starboard line-up that has a surfstyle toe-in of about 1 degree. What do you feel this does for your waveriding?
Ben Severne: Yeah, the fin setup on the NuEvo is probably what makes it super loose. The big advantage is I can ride a higher volume board that turns easier than anyone’s small board. The thing I love about this board is the full rail turn it does. Most people’s boards seem to pivot around the fins, and it looks more like a directional change than a real power turn.
Starboard: This event was also a huge success for Severne Sails. Top 4 in the Pros, Top 2 in the Youths, Top 2 in the Masters… What's your take on this?
Ben Severne: We’re stoked to be have some of the best East Coast guys riding our sails now. Mick Westra, Brett Goodwin and Dan Berry to name a few who sail really good and are great guys too. Having them represent our product should really help us increase our presence on the water.
Starboard: Which Severne sail was the most used? Why do you think that is?
Ben Severne: There was a fairly even mix of Blades, S-1’s and SWAT’s. Probably more Blades, which is about right as they’re the most all-round wave sail we do.
Starboard: Australia is your domestic market and it is safe to say you are dominating. How do we open the eyes of the rest of the world?
Ben Severne: Try one! Usually it all starts to get pretty easy to convince people when they can try one of our rigs for themselves.
It should be easiest for us here, as I can turn up at different events and sail with people. It’s an easy way to show that the products are pretty suited to their local conditions, and that as a brand we’re pretty passionate about windsurfing.
1. Ben Severne (Severne Sails)
2. Mick Westra (Severne Sails)
3. Brett Goodwin (Severne Sails)
4. Shane Finnigan (Severne Sails)
5. Andrew Morris (Naish Sails)
1. Jessica Crisp (Hot Sails)
2. Kate Barker
3. Jessie Holder (Naish sails)
4. Cheryl Cater (Severne Sails)
1. Oliver Cox (Severne Sails)
2. Forrest Ladin (Severne Sails)
3. Kai Bates