Muniz & Brooks win Surfest

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posted by James Willmott

Newcastle’s Surfest event finally drew to a close over the weekend, with Brazil’s Alejo Muniz and Gold Coast’s Ellie Brooks being crowned the 2015 Burton Automotive Champions.

Both the World Surfing League’s Mens QS6000 and the Women’s QS1000 events provided a fun size swell and plenty of potential for all competitors, with local crowds coming out in their numbers to brave the rain and see some of the world’s best surfers tear apart their backyard breaks.

Muniz and Australia’s Jack Freestone met in the men’s Final, with both surfers flicking the on switch and throwing together powerful turns, carves and air combinations. Although he got off to quite a slow start, Alejo eventually proved too strong for Freestone and sent him packing to second place.

“It’s my birthday today so this feels extra special,” Muniz said. “It also feels amazing because two years ago I finished 2nd to Parko (Joel Parkinson) here and now I was able to win. Before the Final I wrote a message on my board to my friend Ricardo Dos Santos, he was an amazing surfer and he passed away one month ago. This is a very special day for me to dedicate this win to him.”

“It’s hard to go so far in an event and finish 2nd,” Freestone said. “Hats off to Alejo, he’s a great surfer. It’s a great way to start my year — I’m psyched. Now I’ll head home and get ready for the Quiksilver Pro trials next week and see what happens next.”

Ellie Brooks may have entered the contest as a semi-unknown surfer, though left with a huge smile and her best result in competitive surfing to date. The young gun from from the Gold Coast out-surfed Newcastle local girl Philippa Anderson with her powerful backhand attack, enough so to take her first win on the Qualifying Series Tour.

“When the siren sounded I was wondering if this was really happening!” Brooks said. “This is my best ever result by far! I packed the car a couple days ago thinking I’d be going home early so to now be the winner feels so good. This is going to give me confidence to know I can compete at this level and I’m excited for the next event in NZ in a few weeks.”

Congratulations to both Alejo and Ellie for their wins and great surfing. Bring on the Quiksilver Pro!

*Imagery by Jonathan Carroll