KATA: Hussain Areef of the Maldives won the shortboard division of the third annual Quiksilver Phuket Surfing Contest, held at Kata Yai Beach at the weekend. Areef outscored 47 other competitors from all over the world. Briton Lee Dowse came second while another Maldivian, Mohamed Fayaz, came third. Local surfing prodigy, 12-year-old Simon de Maria, who has competed in the event since he was eight, made the most of the small waves to claim fourth, beating this year’s highest-ranking Thai, Chalong Tongsook into fifth place. Last year’s winner, Yutaka Arai of Japan, came ninth. In the longboard division, Australian Bill Scholer successfully defended his title against 23 other competitors, keeping American Bob Selznik at bay in second place, while Mick Robinson from Australia came third. “It wasn’t easy to win again,” said Scholer. “There were lots of good surfers from all over the place.” Perry Gilbert from Australia beat 23 others to win the paddleboard contest. Second was Dowse, while fellow Aussie Mick Robinson came third and Werapong Thonghome came fourth. Outstanding performance awards were made to the contest’s youngest competitor, nine-year-old Lucas du Troit from South Africa; the top woman competitor, Cheiko Fujimara from Japan; and 12-year-old Nai, from Thailand.
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