Homegrown talent takes title as Batavia coast hosts Stand-Up Paddleboard State Championships

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
Ben Mardon left it late but came away with two State titles
Camera IconBen Mardon left it late but came away with two State titles Credit: Surfing WA

It was a double delight at Sunset Beach as homegrown talent Ben Mardon claimed two Stand-Up Paddleboard State Titles in dramatic fashion over the weekend.

The conditions were chilly, but for those braving the waves, it was a winter wonderland with clean 3-4 feet waves on offer with competitors who made the pilgrimage north revelling under sunny skies. But few enjoyed the waves more than Mardon as he claimed the blue ribbon men’s open and over-40s title.

“It’s been such an amazing event,” he said. “It’s nice to have everyone come up here to my hometown and the waves really tuned it on. I jumped back on the SUP a few months ago after focusing on foiling for a few years and I love hitting some lips again.”

In the open, Mardon dominated his opening heat before taking the top spot in the semifinal with an 8.03 on his final wave.

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He would leave it late once again in the final after trailing Ryder Vernon he pulled out a 7.40 on his seventh and final wave to take the title by 0.3 with a 14.00 two-wave total. If that wasn’t drama enough Mardon repeated his last gasp efforts in the over-40 title to steal the title off Darron McNab in the dying second.

Mardon caught a buzzer-beating wave in the final moments of the over-40 men’s and was rewarded with a 7.67 (from a possible 10) by just 0.03 when the final siren sounded. “Everyone has been surfing so well and I kind of know which waves hug the reef the best out there,” Mardon said. “I’m just lucky that wave came to me in time and I did enough to get the score. I really liked surfing with the priority system for the first time.”

Beyond the competition, the three-day event was a chance to bring together the WA SUP community to celebrate the life of Mid West local Patrice Richardson who died in June.

Richardson was a larger-than-life character, ocean lover and inspiration to everyone she crossed paths with. The event provided the opportunity to come together and participate in a paddle-out to honour her enduring legacy.

Isabelle Olney (Bicton) was the popular recipient of the Maverick Award, a new perpetual trophy that will be awarded annually in Richardson’s memory

“I’d like to congratulate all our SUP State champions and event participants who impressed in great waves,” Surfing WA events manager Justin Majeks said.

“Geraldton most definitely turned it on and delivered one of the best SUP events I’ve been a part of. We look forward to seeing our WA stand-up paddleboarders performing at national titles.”

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