Bodyboard king Josh Kleve wins Elite Championship at BoxFest24

South African Josh Kleve (far right) won the BoxFest 24 Elite Championship title at Box Beach from Mitch Woodland, Cooper Stewart and Dallas Singer.

SOUTH African bodyboard king Josh Kleve achieved a milestone when he captured this year’s BoxFest 24 Elite championship title at Shoal Bay’s Box Beach.

The courageous and innovative Kleve was one of several international competitors to demonstrate their skills at the major Port Stephens event that attracted some of the biggest bodyboard surfing stars from Australia and abroad.

Kleve scored an impressive 14.67 in the final to edge out Shoal Bay’s Mitch Woodland (11.4) and become the second South African to win the Elite trophy and $2000 top prize after previous champion Michael Osler.

Sunshine Coast cadet Cooper Stewart finished third on 9.7 and Shoal Bay product Dallas Singer (8.43) fourth.

Another Shoal Bay native Ben Coleman featured prominently in the Elite Drop Knee division – clinching the title with a score of 11.77 from seasoned campaigners Grant Moloney (8.97), Gary Thatcher (7.27) and Newcastle’s Brandon Dawson (5.47).

In the Open Men’s category, Newcastle’s Paul Klaassen claimed honours with a score of 14.4 in the final – toppling Sunshine Coast’s Adam Keegan (11.8), Newcastle’s Liam Gray (9.8) and Central Coast’s Wade Kelty (8.9).

Pipeline champion and World Tour legend Lilly Pollard took out the Open Women’s top prize with a score of 13 from Boat Harbour’s Kaylah Pisani (9), Portugal’s Catalina Soto (7.1) and Brazilian Eveline Mussi (4.47).

It was an outstanding display from 22-year-old Kaylah, who is a former Pipeline quarter finalist.

Experienced Hunter bodyboarder Rik James clinched the Masters title with a score of 12.53 from wave warriors Keegan (9.8), Klaassen (8.8) and Port Stephens District Bodyboarders President Chad Pisani (7.57).

Newcastle’s Wade Boeree was triumphant in the Grand Masters division – winning the title with a score of 10.66 in the final from Boat Harbour’s Scott Kitchen (9.93) and Newcastle duo Richard Chippendale (7.26) and Chris Kilpatrick (5.86).

There was more joy for Novocastrian competitors when talented Jaxon Cruickshank recorded 13.63 to edge out Anna Bay’s fifteen year old sensation Kai Atkinson (13.17) in a gripping Cadets Division contest.

Sunshine Coast’s Zayde Taylor (10.07) and Forster’s Sunny Williams (7.77) also showed their ways in a quality final.

North Coast whiz kid Hardy Fletcher was the name on everyone’s lips at the three day festival after brilliant performances in the Grommets, Cadets and Junior categories.

Eleven-year-old Fletcher was the stand out champion in the Grommets Division with a final score of 16.23 from top prospects Van Taylor (7.17), Hunter’s Morrison Parker (5.5) and Newcastle’s Seth Kimmons (3.4).

The rising Fletcher (10.17) also finished runner up to Maroubra’s Anthony Miller (15.6) in the Juniors Trophy in front of Newcastle’s Cooper Chippendale (8.67) and Sunshine Coast’s Jai Taylor (7.4).

For fifteen-year-old Miller, the victory has earned him an invite to this year’s Shark Island Challenge.

An elated Chad Pisani told News Of The Area that this year’s BoxFest event was “the biggest and best to date”.

“We couldn’t be happier with the record entries and marvellous weather and conditions that ensured the Festival’s success,” he said.

By Chris KARAS

Leave a Reply