By Grace Knight
Messy conditions and a scoring mishap almost robbed Hunter Johnston of victory in last week’s Open Men’s Longboard final at the 2022 Australian Uni Games of Surfing last week.
The Bond University student had an undefeated run in the comp at Coolum Beach, impressing with his smooth style, but a judging discrepancy in his final round gave the win to Sunshine Coast local Riley Thomson.
“It was quite an interesting final to say the least. When the hooter blew Sunshine Coast student Riley Thomson was actually named the winner until they called a judging discrepancy after a wave of mine was incorrectly scored by one judge,” said Johnston.
“I was really confused because I had just caught a really good wave which I thought would have put me in the lead for sure.”
Two judges scored Johnston’s standout wave a 7.5 and an 8.5 (out of 10) however the third judge awarded a 3.5. Due to this discrepancy, Hunter’s wave was re-assessed in accordance with Surfing Australia’s rule handbook, and Hunter was crowned the winner.
Johnston dominated his final with the highest total score of the competition, a 13.9 (out of 20).
“Despite the hairy finish in the final, the whole event was just a true display of the spirit of surfing. Just having fun with your mates, catching waves, and supporting each other,” Hunter said.
“We had some really average surfing conditions so I just wanted to surf as well as possible with what I was given,” said Hunter.
One of the most anticipated divisions of the Uni Games of Surfing is the ‘teams challenge’. This event involves five surfers from each university taking part in a ‘tag team’ surf.
This challenge brings a special sense of comradery and team spirit into a sport which is generally considered an individual pursuit.
Hunter was one of only two Bond students who entered the Uni Games this year, meaning there weren’t enough surfers to make up an official team.
“It’s really unfortunate that we couldn’t get more Bond students up for the event this year,” said Hunter.
“Other universities such as UQ had huge numbers and such good team spirit, so I hope that in future years we can gain more participants for Bond to partake in this fun event.”