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Army May 22, 2014
Army charges to the top
Soldiers rule the waves in the ADF Surfing Championships on the NSW South Coast
Cpl Aaron Curran
THROUGH a dominant display of
power surfing in challenging conditions,
Army took out the 2014 ADF Surfing
Championships on the NSW South
Held around the surfing mecca of
Ulladulla between May 5 and 8, teams
from across the three services came togeth-
er to battle it out in conditions not experi-
enced by ADF teams in recent memory.
The competition was timed perfectly,
coinciding with a huge swell that hit the
south coast and pushing even the most
experienced surfers to their limits.
Army team captain, and winner of the
men’s short board event, Lt Brett Edwards
said sets on the final day topped up to 8
“It was probably some of the best surf
I have had for a competition,” he said. “It
tested everyone and put us out of our com-
fort zones. I was comfortable out there, but
I was feeling for the guys on long boards
and the stand-up paddle boards. I take my
hat off to them.”
On the day of the semi-final, groups of
five to six surfers paddled out at a rocky
point break called Dolphin Point that was
sending through clean lines and sets of up
to six feet.
Chief organiser of the championships,
WO Kenneth McPherson, was just as
impressed with the size of the swell surfers
faced at a rocky point during the semi-
“Dolphin Point was testy, but we got it
on good conditions,” he said.
“Everyone got waves that I believe they
will remember for a long time. To the cred-
it of the short boarders and long boarders
who went out, they were sensational.”
That was an introduction of what was
to come on the day of the final, when eve-
ryone gathered at a right-hand point break
called Collers. To the astonishment of the
surfers in the final, the sets that were com-
ing through were close to maxing out.
A decision was made to take it on and
send out the short boarders first and the
long boarders after that.
Everyone that went out that day showed
immense courage and got supported and
Lt Edwards was victorious in the final,
showing what years of surfing can accom-
plish. Tpr M, who placed third, put on a
display of true power surfing by charging
at the larger sets, resulting in one high-
speed floater being one of the more memo-
“It was good to see,” Lt Edwards said.
“They weren’t holding back and well and
truly went for it.”
Competitors in the women’s and stand-
up paddle board (SUP) events then moved
around the corner to Mollymook where
they battled it out until the teams’ chal-
lenge at the end of the day.
“The women powered through it,”
Lt Edwards said. “Riding a SUP is hard
enough to do on a still lake, let alone when
there are large waves involved.”
Pte Bijou Busse took out the women’s
title with a clinical application of moves
during the semis and the final, and Pte
Jenny Scott came in second.
Army sealed the victories with a win in
the teams’ challenge – a fun event where a
set number of members form a team from
their respective service, go out and get two
waves, the run in a tag the next one, all
within a set time limit.
Lt Edwards said winning the champion-
ship this year was down to the leadership
they had within the team and its cohesion.
“We had good communication and used
group meetings at night,” he said.
“There were mentors within the team
helping out the young guys that hadn’t
competed much before. Hopefully we
can keep some of the main people from
this year’s team and the mentoring going
through to next year.
Cpl Aaron Curran
HAVING a natural ability and long-
term affinity with the ocean is one
of the reasons Pte Bijou Busse took
out the women’s title at the ADF
For women surfers like Pte Busse,
they are often a long way from
shore and have to rely on their wits,
strength and understanding of one of
nature’s most unpredictable elements.
Pte Busse’s understanding came
from growing up near the sea at a
small place called Broulee, about 90
minutes south of Ulladulla.
“My Dad surfed and growing
up with boys and doing surf
lifesaving eventually led me to
surfing,” she said.
Through constant repetition and
guidance, Pte Busse’s surfing abili-
ties progressed to a level where she
competed in many high-level surfing
competitions before joining the Army
“When I joined I was aware of
what I was getting into and that surf-
ing will have to come second to my
new job,” she says. “A naval officer in
recruiting mentioned the Army surf-
ing team but I didn’t know if he was
Pte Busse said a member within
the office approached her about join-
ing the team.
“I was forwarded a signal about
trying out for the team and told to ‘get
on it’,” she said. “This was my first
interservice competition and it was
Pte Busse and the other four
female competitors endeared them-
selves to all who saw them take on
solid walls at a place called Dolphin
Point on May 6.
With no sand to provide a safe
base, only an ominous rock ledge, the
women paddled out in their heats to
waves that were at times twice their
When the sets hit, cheers from the
crowd on the point could be heard
above the thundering waves as each
competitor took the leap of faith down
Pte Busse said there was cama-
raderie that only those in the sport
understand – a competition among
competitors, but with no aggression.
“It underlines our mateship and at
the end of the day we all get together
and go surfing and celebrate being
part of a team,” she said.
“Getting exposed to the other ser-
vices and learning about what they do
in their day-to-day jobs was great as
Pte Busse said skill level was not
really a defining factor in ADF surfing.
“I would tell all women who are
contemplating it to go for it,” she said.
“There is nothing to lose and be nerv-
ous about. It is about participation and
getting in and enjoying yourself.”
Pte Busse said she would like to
see ADF surfing go as far as it could.
“We have the talent. It can be done
by consolidating the interservice comp
and then stepping it up a notch – going
up against other countries’ teams.
They do it with other sports so why
Pte sails through to the women’s title
A swell time: Tpr M
executes a hard snap
during the fourth heat
at Dolphin Point.
Photos by Cpl Aaron Curran
Riding high: Pte Bijou
Busse executes a cutback
during the women’s heat
at Dolphin Point.
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