Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Surfers Chase a a[euro][approximately]Pa' Contest to Kick off Festival; Competition Will Be Fierce for One of Australia's Oldest Titles

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Surfers Chase a a[euro][approximately]Pa' Contest to Kick off Festival; Competition Will Be Fierce for One of Australia's Oldest Titles

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

IT'S the second longest-running event in Australian surfing history, has a proud place in the sporting records of all who have won it and continues to be put together annually by a hard-working group of volunteers who never struggle for support from Caloundra's business community.

The Pa and Ma Bendall Memorial Surf Classic, which has now been running for 36 years, on February 20-21 kicks off a month of activity that will draw surfers from across Australia and across the globe to the Sunshine Coast.

While modest in prize money, with the $1000 winner's cheque only half that won in 1975 by Michael Petersen on his futuristic 6'6" six-channel triple-flyer pintail known as the Moonrocket or Fangtail, the event has lost none of its prestige.

The event's aura is built partly on the fact it is the celebration of the surfing life of Ma and Pa Bendall and the innocence of an era where, even on the modest waves of the Sunshine Coast, status was derived in part by the size of the drop you were prepared to take. Its longevity is part of it too. Every sport needs a history and the Pa and Ma Bendall Classic has contributed to that for more than three decades.

In many ways, while the landscape around it has changed almost beyond recognition, the contest has retained the essence of its early years. It doesn't need to be bigger, richer or flashier than its roots.

ORGANISERS are hopeful defending champion, former Caloundra local and ex-world tour top 44 competitor Nathan Hedge, will be back, but that will depend on his global competition schedule.

Aunty Pam Lindsay said Hedge, 29, who she described as being as afit as a fleaa had regained the full throttle of his competitive desire.

He had expressed a real desire to contest this month's event but was in Brazil competing and may not be back in time.

Places in the open men and women's events, seniors, juniors under 16 and under 18, and open kneeboard were all filling fast.

"Every young surfer wants a Pa on their resume," organiser Terry Landsberg of the Wind N Sea Board Riders Club said.

"We have never had a problem attracting numbers. …

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