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Barney Has Wood On Rivals

By Duncan Horscroft on August 25, 2011 in Sport

Photo: SNSW/Renee Miller

Bondi’s Barney Quinlan has made history by becoming the first winner of an alaia contest in Australia.

Riding the ancient-style Hawaiian finless surfboards has been gaining immense popularity along the Australian coastline and the country’s first contest on these beautifully crafted pieces of raw wood was part of the Australian Surf Festival at Port Macquarie.

Taking out the inaugural Australian Alaia title in one-metre waves at Town Beach on Thursday, Barney seemed to be at ease with the traditional style in the four-man final, beating Ian Bell (North Haven), Matt Cook (Cronulla) and Jarrad Davies (Margaret River).

“It feels extra special knowing I am the first person to win the Australian title,” he said after the win.

“I’ve been lucky enough to ride one for a couple of years after a friend of mine helped me shape it.

“I like to think of it as a combination of longboard, body surfing and bodyboarding.

“Being a surfer who has surfed a lot of different waves for a few years on the alaia, it’s great to see a division finally open up for this style of surfing.”

The festival wraps up this weekend with the Australian Single Fins Titles.