Mitch hunts big victory
THE daunting four-metre waves of Sunset Beach, Hawaii, might not resemble the Sunshine Coast.
But that didn't seem to worry Maroochydore's Mitch Coleborn yesterday when he opened his Vans World Cup of Surfing campaign in style.
Coleborn, 25, claimed an impressive round-one victory in intense surf to progress to the next round of the $250,000 ASP Prime event.
Setting the pace with an eye-catching barrel ride, Coleborn posted an impressive score of 8.17 points (out of 10) and went on to defeat Hawaii's Tanner Hendrickson (12.93) and TJ Barron (10.67), along with Jonathan Gonzalez (8.87) of the Cayman Islands.
The surf, which was described by some as life-threatening, attracted the biggest crowd the event has seen in its 38-year history. "I don't think I've ever seen it this big on the Sunny Coast," Coleborn said.
"But I paddled out there and had a lot of fun and I'm stoked to get round one out of the road.
"I haven't surfed here at all, really. I'm staying down at Pipe and have just been surfing out front of the house, but I surfed the last few days with Dusty Payne and he's kind of shown me the ropes and set me up with a couple of markers and it worked for me."
At number 81 in the world, Coleborn is the Sunshine Coast's second-highest-ranked surfer, behind Coolum Beach's Julian Wilson, who is at number six.
Coleborn has experienced mixed fortunes this season.
His best result was a runner-up finish behind Romain Cloitre in the 6-star Relentless Boardmasters in Association with Vans event.
The event was in Newquay, Britain, in August.
"I'd like to get a good result (in Hawaii). I've had a bit of a rough year," Coleborn said.
"I've only had a couple of so-so results, so a big result would mean the world to me, especially out at Sunset when it's big like this."
Of the 16 heats contested yesterday, 11 were won by Hawaiian surfers.
Locals like Pancho Sullivan, Jamie O'Brien, Makuakai Rothman and Sunny Garcia seemingly thrive in the conditions, which put most others on edge.
Sullivan has been a favourite for this event for more than a decade, but a win continues to elude him.