MOLLYMOOK’S Kai Bates has kicked off the new season in the same way he finished 2017 – in style.
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The 23-year-old, who represented Australia at the International Surfing Association world titles in Denmark last year, recently took home the ECS SUP title, which ran as part of the Surfest Newcastle.
“The surf was unreal on the first day, with four to five foot waves and light off-shores – I had two heats and it felt like a great warm up,” Bates said.
“It felt like I was getting back into contest mode for 2018 – the two first heats scored by your result which then eliminated the lowest place-getters to create the quarter-finals for the following day.”
The conditions had totally changed on the Sunday, to one to two foot waves, which forced Bates to change his approach.
“I focused on getting through the heats and conserving as much energy as possible for a potential final showdown,” he said.
“Surfing my own heat in the final helped to get rid of the nerves – with a slow start, I knew I needed to pull of something with more flair to give me the win in the limiting conditions.
“A few turns and a 360 to mix it up clinched the title.
“I felt lucky to win in front of my dad and close friends.”
The former St Johns student believes this is the perfect springboard for another amazing season in the surf.
“I wanted my year to start with a bang – it feels great to get that win,” he said.
“It’s a real confidence booster for the upcoming Australian and international events.”
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