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120 competitors at the Coolum Wedge Festival of Bodysurfing, the first event in the IBSA World Tour

Updated: Sep 12, 2023


The finalists with the competition organiser Darren Verrenkemp

The Wedge 2023 Festival, comprising the world’s first IBSA World Tour qualifying event on Friday the 24th March and then the ‘Any Wedge Way You Can’ events over the Saturday and Sunday 25th–26th March have been run and won. 50 of the nation’s and Hawaii’s best bodysurfers competed for the IBSA men’s and women’s crowns followed by a record field of 120 bodysurfers for the weekend divisions.

All competitors and spectators were adamant this was the best bodysurfing event ever held. The entire bodysurfing ‘tribe’ from around Australia and the world came together for the three days and the stoke was off the charts for the duration.

Friday was the world’s first IBSA (International Body Surfing Association) event in history. Successful competitors gained points to qualify for the World Tour Final to be held in Hawaii. After all the knock-out and progression heats, the women’s final was desperately close, with only 0.1 separating first and second. It was eventually taken out by Queenslander Ally Zillman with Lilly Kelly from NSW just falling short. Third was Novocastrian Caitlin Callahan with local favourite Lyla Crouch close by in fourth.


Ally Zillman, Cailtin Callahan and Lyla Crouch

The IBSA men’s competition attracted a field of over 40 of the sport’s best watermen. After ferocious rounds of heats, quarters and semis, the field was reduced to the four best watermen for the final. Local savant Jack Lewis produced a superb performance to take out the world’s first IBSA event, edging out iron man Ky Kinsela and Jack Macrae.


State member for Ninderry Dan Purdie watching on as Jack Lewis is announced IBSA Wedge Champion

The Wedge events ran all weekend with 120 competitors battling it out across five divisions. The Saturday highlight was unquestionably the Champion Team Super Heat. Amongst the exceptionally strong teams entered with North Sydney Body Surfer and The Hawaiian Team. However the local team Sun Coast Sea Otters comprising Darren Verrenkamp, Tallow Crouch, Lyla Crouch, Jay Van Deurse and Jack Lewis turned in a flawless performance to run away with the win. This was the event the competitors loved competing in the most. At the end of the heat, every single competitor swam back out and caught a single ‘party’ wave in together – 20 of the world’s best bodysurfers on one wave.


Game faces on before the Champion Team event with NBBS (yellow) and the Hawaiian team (green). The local Sunshine Coast stars the Sun Coast Sea Otters swept all before them to claim the crown

Sunday was Finals Day for the Wedge as the fields were narrowed down to the Final Fortunate Few.

The Juniors Division was taken out by 11 year old local girl Lyla Crouch, a superb performance against competitors of both genders and ages up to 17. The podium was also filled by locals Kaden Wallis and Taj Barraclough who have podiumed in the same event in previous years.

The Tribal Elders (over 55’s) was won by local Bill Moore, with Chip Bradshaw and previous winner Darren Verrenkamp filling the podium.

The Masters (over 35’s) was won by another local in Adam Baldwin, his first big win. Sydney-based Richie Evans was second with Red Bull photographer Trent Mitchell coming in third.

The Women’s Open was won by double Olympic gold medalist Susie O’Neill who showed she has lost none of her form in the water. She edged out defending Champion Lyla Crouch with IBSA winner Ally Zillman taking out third.


Susan O’Neill

The Men’s Open final produced arguably the best bodysurfing heat ever held in Australia. The five finalists, produced an epic display for the crowd, with the two main protagonists from the IBSA event, Jack and Ky soon separating themselves. Like tow heavyweight boxers they went blow-for-blow, wave-for wave with extraordinary rides, one after the other. In the end Jack edge out Ky in this battle for the ages, with local boy Jan Van Deurse grabbing the bronze.


Jack Lewis with fellow competitor Rikki Gilbey
Ky Kinsela in the Battle Royale of the Mens Open Final

Competitors are already dreaming of Wedge ’24… 



Bodysurfing World Tour Qualyfing System event ranking


OPEN MEN


1. Jack Lewis (Australia) 1000

2. Ky Kinsela (Australia) 860

3. Jack Macrae (Australia) 730

4. Patrick McNally (Australia) 670

5. Jae Marr (Australia) 610

6. Jay Van Deurse (Australia) 583

7. Glen Murphy (Australia) 555

7. Dylan Kelly (Australia) 555

9. Jarrod Bridges (Australia) 500

9. Jonathon Nowers (Australia) 500

11. Jad Markland (Australia) 475

11. Jacob Rosenbrock (Australia) 475

13. Thomas Sewell (Australia) 450

13. Harry Gordon (Australia) 450

13. Marvin Smith (Australia) 450

13. Ben Wallis (Australia) 450

17. Trent Mitchell (Australia) 400

17. Adam Baldwin (Australia) 400

17. Richard Evans (Australia) 400

17. Michael Browne (Australia) 400

21. Luke Smith (Australia) 380

21. Chris Hansen (Australia) 380

21. David Laeha (USA, Hawaii) 380

21. Christopher McDougall (USA) 380

25. Jerome Petit (France) 360

25. Jacob Marr (Australia) 360

25. Adam Laeha (USA, Hawaii) 360

25. Scott C (Australia) 360

25. William Moore (Australia) 360

25. Ian Pendergast (Australia) 360

25. Sam Keelan (Australia) 360

25. Mark Tucker (Australia) 360

33. Luke Hutchison (Australia) 320

33. Paul Murphy (Australia) 320

33. Chirs Nicholas (Australia) 320

33. Jeremy Winer (Australia) 320

33. Dalton Kelly (Australia) 320

33. Paul Sifigna (Australia) 320

33. Lincoln Dews (Australia) 320



OPEN WOMEN


1. Ally Zillman (Australia) 1000

2. Lily Kelly (Australia) 860

3. Caitlin Callahan (Australia) 730

4. Lyla Crouch (Australia) 670

5. Sherie Tracey (Australia) 610

6. Kate Maxfield (USA) 583

7. Jaqueline Cutts (Australia) 555

7. Kristin Jones (Australia) 555

9. Juanita Read (Australia) 500

9. Lynda Franklin (Australia) 500

11. Taylor Wood-Durant (Australia) 475

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