Local Trio Keep Dream Alive at Mark Richards Pro

MEREWETHER, Australia - No local surfer has ever won any of the previous 23 Surfest competitions.

And after Day 2 of the 2009 event, just three local surfers remain in contention in the Mark Richards Pro at Merewether.

Merewether duo Jesse Adam and Craig Anderson easily accounted for their opposition in the morning’s clean, small waves at Merewether point.

But Catherine Hill Bay’s Sam Lendrum(14.40) can count himself lucky after edging out James Athorn (Mullaway, NSW) (14.25) by less than one-fifth of a point in their heat nine match-up.

Lendrum, who secured eighth spot on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior ratings after a solid performance in last week’s Arnette Pro Junior, knows he is fortunate to still be in the trio of locals in contention to stand atop the dais come Sunday afternoon.

"With so much local talent having already been knocked out, to be one of the last surfers left is pretty good," Lendrum said. "Me and Jesse are pretty much neck and neck on the junior series and it’s good to compete alongside him. It’s healthy competition because we’re good mates."

Lendrum will come up against Heath Joske (Nambucca Heads) tomorrow in heat seven in the Round of 32.

Adam (15.50) knocked out fellow local Duncan McNicol (Caves Beach) (11.65) and will meet Clancy Dawson (Kingscliff) in heat 10 tomorrow morning.

Adam knows it is a long way to Sunday afternoon’s Final.

"I felt good for the opening heat and it’s given me a bit of confidence for the next," Adam said. "I was pretty patient. I only got one wave at the start which was a seven and then a bomb came through at the end which gave me the edge."

Not as lucky as his Merewether mates was wildcard entrant, veteran Paul Parkes.

Parkes (11.75), who won the wildcard at last month’s Maitland Toyota trials, was eliminated by Chris Bennetts (Main Beach) (13.50), who found a wave that seemingly popped up out of nowhere inside the last minute to give Bennetts the judge’s salute.

Bennetts will meet the contest’s No. 1 seed and 2008 ASP World No. 6 Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan (Avoca Beach) in heat eight on Friday morning.

Impressive Tahitian Tamaroa McComb now holds the highest heat score (16.5) in the Mark Richards Pro after racking up the morning’s highest individual wave score (9.5).

He will surf tomorrow against the event’s second seed and 2003 winner of this event, Dayyan Neve (Manly).

Other international surfers to progress today included Brazilian Jeverson Duarte, Kiwi Richard Christie and South African Travis Logie.

Sunday’s Arnette Pro Junior winner, Hawaiian Granger Larsen, couldn’t repeat his blistering form and made a morning exit along with Japanese surfers Keito Matsuoka, Nobuyuki Osawa, Tatsuya Fukagawa and Kenichi Kurosawa.

Other internationals to bow out include Indonesian Garut Widiarta and South African Daniel Redman.

The first round of the Maitland Toyota Open got underway in the afternoon and 16-year-old Phillipa Anderson (Merewether) racked up the highest score in all events held to date at the 2009 Surfest after scoring a 9.5 ride and backing it up with 8.5 just minutes later.

She’ll meet Laurina McGrath (Byron Bay) in tomorrow’s Round of 32, where the competition will change to a woman-on-woman format.