Bate Bay Body Bashers crowned 2017 Australian champions

Club captain: Arms outstretched and flying Nick Brbot takes the drop. Picture: Keeland Tracy
Club captain: Arms outstretched and flying Nick Brbot takes the drop. Picture: Keeland Tracy

New Sutherland Shire bodysurfing club Bate Bay Body Bashers have been crowned Whomp Off Australian champions after their debut tournament which took place at Thirroul Beach last weekend.

After the four cumulative events, the Bate Bay club just edged ahead of tournament favourites the East Sydney Body Surfers and reigning champions the Wommin Whompers to take top spot on the podium.

A team-based event, the Bate Bay Body Bashers who base themselves in the Cronulla area competed together for the first time and came out victors.

Formed last year from the strong eastern suburbs club, the Body Bashers now have almost 40 members and practice a form of surfing that was the original and purest way to ride a wave.

Whomp Off Australia Winners (back row) Rikki Gilbey, Nick Brbot, Drew Taylor, Mat Schweighoffer, Wade Turner. (Front row) Patrick Northam, Luke Brbot, Julian Cottle.

Whomp Off Australia Winners (back row) Rikki Gilbey, Nick Brbot, Drew Taylor, Mat Schweighoffer, Wade Turner. (Front row) Patrick Northam, Luke Brbot, Julian Cottle.

The eight-man team use WAW sustainably made wooden hand planes and are known for surfing in club costumes, not wetsuits, due to their waterpolo backgrounds.

Recently signed club captain Nicholas ‘Tugboat’ Brbot was integral to the win, claiming the individual event with an average wave score of 8.8 out of 10.

Bate Bay also secured the double in the flipper run race, with Julian Cottle and Wade Turner taking first and second in the event. The flipper run race was marred with controversy, with the northern beaches team lodging protest over a suspected false start.

Club vice-president Luke Brbot was proud of the boys for putting on a dominant performance.

“We are absolutely stoked with the win. Coming in as outsiders for our first tournament we really didn’t expect this. It’s just great for the sport and the local community. We have had so much support from the Cronulla area going into it and it is really nice to bring the trophy home,” Luke said.

The national bodysurfing event was held over the weekend between seven Australian clubs at McCauley’s Beach on the south coast.

Events held included tag team, tricks, individual and the flipper run race, which is a 50-metre dash with flippers on the sand.

Speedo's: Nick Brbot braves the winter waves in his club costumes. Picture: John Veage

Speedo's: Nick Brbot braves the winter waves in his club costumes. Picture: John Veage

The club members use Da Fins which are standard issue equipment for the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. They are stocky, maneuverable fins that move faster and provide flexibility and better body positioning on waves.

The Cronulla Bate Bay Bodysurfers club is now lined up to host next year’s Whomp Off, courtesy of their impressive Australian title win.