Karla Gilbert, Michael Booth and Toby Cracknell Win at the Noosa Festival of Surfing (Updated)




Results and photos are in from the weekend’s festivities in Oz, where Karla Gilbert, Michael Booth and Toby Cracknell have all saluted at the 2016 Noosa Festival of Surfing.

Karla made it a clean sweep of the women’s field, however Boothy will be shaking his head that he missed out on the men’s double after a hectic finish in the waves; He took out the distance race on Saturday and led during the latter stages of Sunday’s BOP-style surf race before being pipped at the post.

Toby deserves a big shout out for climbing back on top of the podium with a gritty, come-from-behind win. The waves were small and the point was super shallow out there yesterday; Tobes showed deep commitment, surfing his race board almost straight over the top of exposed rocks (see the photo down below). That commitment made his win all the more well deserved (and also gave Team Naish the double when Karla crossed the line a few minutes later), though I’m amazed he didn’t snap his fin out.

Also, consider this: When former Battle of the Paddle California runner-up Jake Jensen can’t finish better than third all weekend, world #14 Trevor Tunnington is down at fifth, and world #13 Matt Nottage isn’t even in the top five, you know you’ve got a very, very solid level of competition. And top Aussie guys like Beau O’Brian, Kelly Margetts and Travis Grant weren’t even there. Just goes to show how much world-class depth Australia really has.


And congratulations to the event organisers for pulling off a great weekend. I was surprised at just how good this race was. As part of the massive Noosa Festival of Surfing (by some reports, the world’s largest surf festival), this race has a tremendous platform to become a world class SUP event. The setup on the beach was unreal (including a beer garden right there on the sand), and the location, the world famous “First Point” in the bikini-clad-backpacker haven of Noosa Heads, Queensland, is paradisaical to say the least.

Would have been nicer with slightly bigger waves, but still a lotta fun. (I really need to train though: You never know just how outta shape you are until you do a five lap, 5km surf race that includes four soft sand chicane runs…)

Below from left to right: Michael Booth, James Casey and Toby Cracknell deep, deep, deep inside

Some sketchy lines taken

Posted by Australian Paddle Surfer Magazine on Sunday, March 6, 2016


This race has been around for half a decade now, but I get the feeling it’s really taken off in the past year. I daresay it’ll be one of the biggest races in Oz next year, along with the likes of King of the Cut and the upcoming Saucy Jack Classic. In fact it already is one of the biggest races, both in terms of participation and elite level of competition. Looking forward to next year already — definitely add this one to your bucket list.

I’m pretty sure this event also set a world record for biggest crowd on the beach watching a stand up paddle event. Ever. In the entire world. There were thousands of people down there. Unfortunately it was for the dogs SUP surfing contest, not the SUP race…

That BOP race sure was fun, but I’m still amazed more paddlers didn’t lose their fin boxes. The waves were about half a foot, and the only spot they were breaking was almost literally on the rocks. Some strategic buoy placements meant we were all chasing waves on the way in, but that meant we were also all trying to avoid the rocks. Small waves + shallow point break + high level of competition = deep, risky rides from the outside buoy back in to the beach (see the photo above for a classic example).


1st: Michael Booth (Starboard) 1:07:15
2nd: James Casey (JP Australia) 1:07:38
3rd: Jake Jensen (Fanatic) 1:08:33
4th: Toby Cracknell (Naish) 1:09:53
5th: Trevor Tunnington (Starboard) 1:11:23
6th: Matt Nottage (Starboard) 1:12:51
7th: Andy Davies (Naish) 1:14:11
8th: Tim Cyprien (Naish) 1:14:51
9th: Paul Jones (Walk on Water) 1:15:25
10th: Dyllan Constable (Fanatic) 1:15:34

1st: Toby Cracknell (Naish) 0:27:19
2nd: Michael Booth (Starboard) 0:27:20
3rd: Jake Jensen (Fanatic) 0:27:26
4th: James Casey (JP Australia) 0:27:28
5th: Trevor Tunnington (Starboard) 0:27:29
6th: Kai Bates (Fanatic) 0:29:40
7th: Andy Davies (Naish) 0:29:47
8th: Tim Cyprien (Naish) 0:29:51
9th: Callan Dick (n/a) 0:30:51
10th: Paul Jones (Walk On Water) 0:31:09

Below: Commitment from Kai Bates at the start…

Kai Bates – scorpioning.That kid always manages to do something crazy at the start of a BOP race.

Posted by Australian Paddle Surfer Magazine on Sunday, March 6, 2016


1st: Karla Gilbert (Naish) 1:21:12
2nd: Kate Baker (n/a) 1:21:45
3rd: Hannah Finlay-Jones (ECS) 1:32:28
4th: Chloe Walkerdene (JP Australia) 1:34:42
5th: Sue Dorries (n/a) 1:36:05

1st: Karla Gilbert (Naish) 0:33:15
2nd: Kate Baker (n/a) 0:34:09
3rd: Sondra Purser (ECS) 0:35:23
4th: Chloe Walkerdene (JP Australia) 0:36:29
5th: Hannah Finlay-Jones (ECS) 0:37:08

Below: Karla Gilbert on her way to yet another victory in Australia…


FULL RESULTS: BOP Race results | Distance Race results

PHOTOS: Great shots from Australian Paddle Surfer on Facebook: BOP Race photos | Distance Race photos

And I’ll leave you with this awesome drone shot courtesy of Harry Lee. There are definitely worse places to spend a weekend than Noosa…




In brief: Toby Cracknell has taken out the BOP race on day two of the Noosa Festival of Surfing, narrowly defeating distance race champ Michael Booth in fun but tiring conditions.

As very small but fun little waves rolled down Noosa’s First Point, right next to the exposed rocks that made snagging a wave a gamble for many competitors, Jake Jensen took an early lead but was eventually reeled in by Tobes and Boothy.

James Casey and local boy Trevor Tunnington kept pace, with the top five all within shouting distance on the fifth and final lap.

The top two surfed the same wave to the beach, negotiating the tricky rock section (and a few of the backmarkers) to make it a sprint up the beach.

A couple of waves behind, Jake, Jimmy and Trev had a pile up in the shorebreak, with Jake getting the better of the chaos to sprint clear up the beach and take his second podium spot in two days.

Not sure the full podium in the dimensions women’s but I do know Karla Gilbert made it a clean sweep for the weekend.

Super fun race — I had a nice view of the action from the back of the pack (you know you haven’t been training when you lapped in a BOP race). And I gotta say — fantastic event setup down here at the Noosa Festival of Surfing.

Full results coming soon. Photo up top: Top five from left to right (Tobes, Boothy, Jake, Jimmy, Trev).

Late Sunday update: Full results are up on webscorer… BOP race results | distance race results



SUP Racer’s official selection for “Name To Watch” in 2016, Australia’s Michael Booth, has taken yet another win at home, claiming the long distance race on day one of the Noosa Festival of Surfing. It’s Starboard rider’s second victory in two weeks, following his triumph at the 12 Towers last weekend.

Boothy broke away on the first of two laps around the 5km (3.1 mile) course, which featured everything from waves to open ocean bumps to flat water and was held at Noosa’s iconic “First Point.” The rising star of Australian paddling, who recently crossed over to SUP racing from a stellar ocean ski racing career, held off fellow Aussie prospect, James Casey, and fellow Queenslander Jake Jensen, who rounded out the podium ahead of a strong field.

Jake, the defending champ, has a shot at redemption though, with the traditional Noosa BOP Race set for tomorrow afternoon.

Today’s race has only just finished, so check back tonight for full results and a few photos, then check back tomorrow for a full recap of the event.