Werri Slash in its 28th year

THE region's best surfers sought to join an illustrious band of champions in the Werri Slash at Werri Beach last weekend.

The Werri Slash was in its 28th year, with the honour roll of champions including women's world tour stars Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons, plus former and present men's stars Todd Prestage, Jake Spooner, Mick Lowe, Phil MacDonald, Dean Bowen and reigning champion Nic Squiers.

Recognised as the biggest and longest-running elite surfing event in the region, the Werri Slash is hosted by Werri Beach Boardriders.

Traditionally, the Slash has coincided with huge swells, and seven age division were titles on the line.

Winners were as follows: Beau Buckpitt (under-14 boys), Kiara Meredith (under-16 girls), Aiden Parsons (under-16 boys), Kyen Stuart (under-18 boys), Skye Burgess (open women), Jake Spooner (senior men) and Werri Beach's Matt Gale (open men).

Squiers, aiming for back-to-back titles in the open mens', finished third.

Werri Beach Boardriders secretary-treasurer and event co-ordinator Dave Hunt said it had been another great weekend, featuring huge waves on Saturday.

Competitors travelled from as far away as Pambula to take part.

A total of 48 heats took place on Saturday, which Hunt believed to be a record for the event.

"There were a lot of good barrels ridden," he said.

"We ran two banks on Saturday, because of the forecast for Sunday being strong, damaging winds and tiny surf.

"On Sunday, we got down to the beach and it was still breaking, three foot or a metre, still consistently coming through."

Hunt said conditions improved later on Sunday and still drew a good crowd that morning.

He said an indication of the strong standard was high-calibre professionals such as Rhys Bombaci, Dean Bowen and Louis Gillick being eliminated before the finals of the open men's division.

For more photographs, visit kiamaindependent.com.au