History of the Merimbula Classic 1981 - 2017

The posters and T shirts have always been an integral part of the contest.. a cheeky and sometimes provocative reflection on the mood and the issuesof the timesor of the past and sometimes a peek into the future. Always fun and a definite talking point.
Part 3 The Noughties
links to part 1 The eighties, part 2 The nineties, Part 4 The new decade











Nov.2000. 230 plus competitors so we're back over 200 wavesailors as in 1990. It's looking good. We sailed daily with classic Fordys on Saturday, greatbear aways. Rowan Cudmore takes it out yet again!.MSC released the official video of twenty years of the Mambo Merimbula called "two decades, too decadent" which was shown at presentation night. MSC released the official club website during 2001.

Nov 2001 The conditions at Merimbula were almost perfect for the club's 21st event. It was a huge success! The swell, the wind, and over 200 competitors really got it on. Friday 23rd November was the magic day, the sky was a blaze of colour as both kites and sails made the most of the swell generated earlier in the week by a massive Low in the Tasman Sea. Andrew Gibbon took out King Mambo, Jennie Williams won the ladies wave sailing. Local boy Ben Wilson was King Wipika and Ingrid Zolezzi wasqueen.

Feb 2002 Merimbula Sailboard Club held the National Wave Sailing titles in Merimbula for the second time. The week long event was very successful although threre was only two days of sailing.

Nov 2002 Merimbula host its 22nd event with a slight hippie/psychedelic theme. The kitersoutnumbered the wavesailers for the first time and enjoyed the SE conditions over the first 3 days. The night time entertainment was fantastic with the Mills bros having a nice acoustic jamming session Thursday before the big band event on Saturday. Roxygen rocked the socks off everyone ....a few guys got a little too excited. Saturday afternoon proved a great day for the "champagne bar" to open on the viewing platform with Craig playing an influential role in hosting the event with also a visit from two motorbikers who burnt some rubber. Sunday was a great day for the wavesailers to prove their worth with strong NE conditions. The testing conditions also provided a great opportunity for experienced kiters to get some serious air. Presentation night proved a very comical show..Austin Powers' over the top entrance set the tone of the event, with Austin holding a "judge the ladies" competition. Ty Bodycoat won King Mambo with his spectacular aerials at Tathra. Local Jade McManus won Queen Mambo. Kitesurfing champion was Mike Raper who took it out withbig air manoeuvers and tricky shore break riding. WA Theresa McKirdy won the ladies event through sheer determination, even coming a week early to sus out the locations.

Nov 2003 This year saw particularly nasty weather greet over 200 competitors and our first double winner, Stewie Martin, past wave sailing King Mambo, took out the open Kite surfing from John Messenger. Beck Nicholson won the ladies and Andrew Regan the Kite veterans.
Dan Berry won the open wave sailing, Luke Johnson the junior wave sailor, Carol Nugent ladies, Lloyd Ellis veterans and Warren One knot Holder took out the Legends.

Nov 2004 "In the Mountains of Izu Province" was the suggestive theme for the 2004 Classic with once again over 200 wave sailors and kite surfers coming along for the journey of enlightenment. Ben Wilson took it out in great surf and wind conditions beating Wallabi Point’s Lee Kavanaugh.
Matt Tobin, past king Mambo wave sailor won Senior Mens. Jessica Van den Burgh won Ladies whilst a roaring, streaker crazy (can’t get in the pub yet) Joel Becus showed us the kiting future and took out the juniors. Terry Gallagher of Kiama was Legends winner and continued his generous ways by donating heaps of cash to the up and comers of both sports…bravo! Merimbula’s Ricky van der Toorn won the wave sailing from Dan Berry. Luke Johnson was awarded the prestigious Gary MacKenzie-Smith trophy and showed also the future for wave sailing.Wazza and Dave Frame were Legends, Lloyd Ellis the Veteran and past multiple winner Rohan Cudmore took out the Masters.
Central Coasts Ben Hawkeswon the Juniors.

Nov 2005 saw some of the best wave sailing and kiting conditions since 1987 with good waves and wind over the four days.Wave sailing was classic with the likes of Scott McKercher and Ricky van der Toorn ripping it up…ah well everyone just had a ball and the results were Ben Wilson from Stewie Martin in the open kite, Scott McKercher from Ricky Van der Toorn in the Open wavesailing. Rohan Cudmore was crowned King Mambo as best in both disciplines, Theresa McKirdy took out the Ladies kitesurfing and Caroline Nugent theLladies wave sailing. Joel Becus again won the junior kite title and Ben Fawkes the junior wave sailing. Other award winners included Gene Phoenix, Craig Spottiswood, Andrew Regan, Lloyd Ellis, John Warren, Legends Dave Frame and Warren Holder, and locals Glenn Brunette and Ginna Graham.

Nov 2006 200 kite surfers and wave sailors, aged from 12 year old junior wave sailor Zach Winter (Coal Point, NSW) to over 60’s kite surfer Terry Gallagher (Kiama) and wave sailor Dave Frame (Sydney), came to Merimbula for the 26th annual classic. Others came from New Zealand, USA, Germany, Norway, France and Belize to join the contingent of Aussies contestants at this unique, world renowned event. Past junior kite winner Joel Becus proved he was now a force to be reckoned with and took out the Open kites by simply going ballistic at every opportunity, with every gust, on every wave he could get his board into. He pipped John Messenger and Lee Kavanaugh in the Opens.Ricky Van Der Toorn took out the wave sailing from Matt Holder and Mick Westra. CJ Jones, dressed in her best rootin tootin cowgirl gear, was a worthy winner of the ladie kites from Angela Van Hoof, and local Caroline Nugent again won the ladies wave sailing. Travis and Zach Winter were impressive in the junior wave sailing, and Andy Yates took out the junior kite award. Locals Glenn Brunette, Mark Hagan, Ben Cavanaugh, Lee Miller won an award in their respective categories as did frequent visitors Dave Ward, Lloyd Ellis, Rohan Cudmore and Terry Gallagher.

Nov 2007 If ever anyone was going to break the One Sacred Rule, (no whingeing) I thought it may happen this year. The waves were tiny little ripples.Not only that, it was pouring rain all over the coast of NSW… and that may have put a lot of guys off coming. But, not to worry, 150 turned up, ready and rearing to rip. Following no wind on Thursday the remaining 3 days saw kiters on the water from lunchtime till dusk. Waves were small but the sun came out and there was enough bumps for the riders to impress the throngs lining the shores of Merimbula Bay. Amongst the amazing contestants was World Champion kiteboarder Aaron Hadlow, who certainly blew out the crowd with his awesome display. In the end it was Newcastle’s Stewy Martin who took out the event, enjoying his second victory as a kite surfer (and having previously won the event wave sailing). Runner up Lee Kavanaugh turned it on, both on the water and after hours in his stunning fluoro gear.
Dean Hendrie again impressed everyone, and took out the wave sailing title from Tom White of Barwon Heads. Junior kiters included Justin Kachad from Coolum and Jessie Miller from Pambula who was awarded the up and comer award. Michel Blinkhorn won the ladies kites, and Cassie O Brien Grudd won the ladies wave sailing. Other category winners included Glenn Hooper, Craig Spottiswood, Kevin Johnson, Warwick Lee, Rob Smallwood, Warren Holder and Reece Warren. The Air Lords were Ken Christenson from Forster and Dave Frame who hot foots it here every year from Sydney. The theme this year was “zombee-zombee” and Matt Tobin was awarded King Mambo for a particularly zombeeish performance on the dance floor.

Nov 2008 Ben Wilson came saw and conquered "Veni Vidi Vici." The local hotshot pulled all the manoevures but he had to be very slick with Stewi and Lee hot on his heels all the way. Did he bribe the judges or was it the lure of a large chocolate ice cream firmly planted on his face that drove him to victory? John Messenger received the King Mambo crown… and he really deserved this as he has been coming here and going off in all aspects of the contest for yonks! Jason Pyke took out the wave sailing award from Dan Berry and the inaugural SUP trophies went to Matt Lumley from Mike Galvin of WA with Roger Saunders walking away with a new Naish SUP board. Michelle Blinkhorn won the ladies kites and local Carolyn Nugent won the wave sailing event. Marco Gribi, Kevin Johnson, Rohan Cudmore, Craig Spotiswood, Maurice Ransom and locals Steve Peterson, Ginna Graham, Grant Warren and John Smythe all won a major award.

Nov 2009 180 kite surfers, wave sailors and Stand Up Paddle surfers (SUPs) gathered in Merimbula for the 29th annual Classic.Some had travelled from New Zealand, France and the USA as well as from all over Australia. Over the four days Merimbula and nearby beaches turned on a variety of conditions for the three disciplines and no one missed out on some excellent wind and waves. The wind during Thursday blew up a nice northerly swell and the SUPers had some glassy waves at the right beaches on Friday morning. Merimbula missed much of the swell but that didn't mean it missed the wind and the wave-sailors and kiters were going off over two days. Strong north easterlies on two days saw action at Merimbula, Pambula Beach and Short Point. A strong southerly change on Saturday provided ideal conditions for both wave sailing and kiting at Merimbula bar and beach, whilst the SUP riders had excellent waves at Pambula.The beach to Bar SUP race was fun and had an edge of state v state involved. The sponsors went over the top and xmas once again came early with over 40grand's worth of goodies up for grabs on presentation night with many younger up and comers walking away with SUP boards, new kites and kite boards. Ian Alldredge from USA, won the open men's Kites from Ben Wilson. Michael Westra took out the Wave Sailing, and Matt Lumley the SUP contest. John Messenger was crowned King Mambo for his all round performance, including being part of the Wat SUP team who won the race. Local trophy winners were Lee Miller, Ginna Graham and Steve Peterson. Ladies Cheryl Prout, Michelle England, Allison Fulliger won their divisions, as did juniors Jack Gearing, Forrest Ludkin and Jake Talbot, Masters Troy Gibson, Jason Cater, Andrew Cassidy and Grand Masters Kevin Johnson, Mat Cudmore and John Christenson