Scarborough Boardriders Club president Christian De Clouett admits his club’s surfers have been overawed at the Australian Boardriders Battle in previous years.
But this year, he’s confident, will be different.
The club will send a team to the competition in Newcastle for the third-straight year and De Clouett is looking forward to seeing his club build on the results of previous years.
“I think being our third year at the competition, we’ll be a lot more comfortable in that arena now,” De Clouett said. “It can be pretty daunting, it’s a big event with a lot of cameras, it’s live on television, it can be daunting for a smaller club like us that doesn’t normally have that pressure.
“Now that we’ve been there and done it, we know what to expect, everyone should be comfortable and hopefully they’ll perform at their peak.”
The club boasts a team filled with a mix of experience and youth, with veteran Nick Squiers leading the charge. Squiers will be joined by Fin McLaren, Darcy De Clouett, Kasey Hargreaves, Talina Wilson and Josh Pepper.
Fresh off a 17th place finish at the Pipe Pro in Hawaii, the seemingly ageless Squiers continues to produce some of the best surfing of his life. Having experienced elite international competition, De Clouett is confident Squiers’ presence will help settle the younger surfers’ nerves.
“Nic’s really been our rudder, so to speak, he’s given belief to everyone else that’s in and around him. They feel they've got Nic there, they know their job, and they can do it right. Nic gives them a sense of security, a sense of stability so they can go about their job.”
The competition will see Australia’s top surfing clubs face off, with Scarborough likely to experience stiff competition from the likes of Elouera, Snapper Rocks and defending champions Culburra.
The Culburra team is stacked with talent, with Owen and Kirby Wright set to feature. While they may be without Tyler and Mikey, the south coast squad remains confident they can defend their title.
"Although some people will think the pressure is on us to replicate what we did last year, I actually think other teams will be intimidated by the fact we are the reigning champions," Culburra team captain Ty Watson said.
With Scarborough eyeing off a top-five finish, De Clouett is looking forward to seeing the club’s surfers impress on the national stage.
With a who’s who of Australian surfing descending on Newcastle Beach, the competition gives surfers the opportunity to show off their skills in front of potential scouts and sponsors.
“It’s a proving ground," De Clouett said. "It’s a big thing to surf against some of the biggest names in our sport. This event last year started Mikey Wright’s avalanche of good results.
“This can be a springboard for any of our members. If you do good here, you can open a lot of doors, the whole industry’s watching. If some of these guys are able to do really good, they could potentially bag a new sponsor.”
- With Courtney Ward