Thai wins country’s first surfing contest

KATA BEACH: Chalong Tonaus, 24, is no longer just a lad from Phitsanulok working as a beach boy in Patong. On Sunday, he became the first surfing champion in Thailand. Chalong was elated by his victory over some 50 other surfers in the Quicksilver Phuket Surfing Contest, organised by Aloha Surf Sports in cooperation with the Tourist Authority of Thailand and the Kata-Karon Municipality. “I’m glad they organized this contest so that I could compete against others,” said Chalong. “I’ve been surfing for four years in Patong and Kata. This contest gave me the chance to show what I am good at.” He won a custom-made surfboard from sponsor Quicksilver. Another surfboard winner was pint-sized 10-year-old Simon De Maria from Australia, who has lived in Thailand since he was four. The boy won 10th place, and the hearts of a large audience on the beach. His eyes watered when he heard that he was going to get a custom-made board of his own, shaped by Australian surfing legend Kim Thompson, plus a year’s supply of custom-made Quicksilver clothes. Second and third places in the contest went to Mick Robinson and Bill Scholek. Australian Laurie Thompson also had a good day. He took 5th place, while his 14-year-old daughter Patchula placed 15th, winning one of two ‘Outstanding Surfer’ awards. The other went to Lucas Du Toit, 8, from South Africa. Each received 2,000 baht. In the AXE Longboard Paddle Contest, Simon Howatson survived three rounds of hard paddling to win convincingly. The Australian, who has lived in Phuket for three years and surfs at Nai Harn, also placed 9th in the surfing contest. Of the paddle contest, he said, “I was worried before the start, but I realized that once you are in front, you stay in front because it is difficult to go past people on the long board.” He won 10,000 baht for his efforts. Second was Somkid Keanan, followed by Mick Robinson and Weerapong Tonghong. Event director Kim Thompson said, “We hope this contest will help to advertise Phuket as a surfing location, and that people will come here with their surfboards. Perhaps the success of this event will help in the development of the sport in Thailand.” The event’s sponsors were Quicksilver, AXE, the TAT, Reef and Oakley.

Phuket News

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