Historic win for teen sensation

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Zen Shepherd on his way to the open men’s Wavefest crown.
Camera IconZen Shepherd on his way to the open men’s Wavefest crown. Credit: Laurie Benson

Young gun Zen Shepherd has created history, becoming the youngest ever winner of the open men’s division at the Wavefest competition held at Parry Beach in Denmark on Saturday.

Teenager surfers were all the rage in the two open divisions that attracted a prize purse of $1000 each, as Zen Shepherd powered his way to a maiden men’s open crown and talented youngster Pemba Spargo also won her first open women’s title.

Open women’s winner Pemba Spargo and open men’s winner Zen Shepherd.
Camera IconOpen women’s winner Pemba Spargo and open men’s winner Zen Shepherd. Credit: Ian Minter

Hailing from Denmark, Zen Shepherd reached the four-man open men’s final where he faced fellow youngster Noah Madaffari and senior duo James Dent and Daniel Bolt.

Competing in a single 25 minute final, judges had the difficult task of separating two older experienced surfers with lots of power and the young pair that provided plenty of speed and flow.

Zen Shepherd was crowned the winner, however, rewarding his stellar day in the surf to win the open men’s crown at the age of just 13.

Dent finished runner-up in the final while Bolt was third and Madaffari finished fourth.

Daniel Bolt in the open men quarterfinal.
Camera IconDaniel Bolt in the open men quarterfinal. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Despite a small field in the open women’s final, the competition was fierce between the talented local teenagers that included reigning champion Holly Minter.

The final was decided over two 20-minute finals, combining scores from both finals and the consistency of Albany competitor Spargo shone through.

The 17-year-old carved her way to victory with two ultra-consistent scores, ahead of Evie Dupuy while Sascha Roberts and Minter were third and fourth respectively.

Pemba Spargo on her way to the open women’s title at Wavefest.
Camera IconPemba Spargo on her way to the open women’s title at Wavefest. Credit: Albany Advertiser

In the other divisions, Dave Beeck won the over-35 men’s category and Robbie Mabbs proved too strong in the over-45 men’s division.

Adrian Shepherd, uncle of Zen, won the over-50 men’s division and Mike Neunuebel swapped his traditional longboard for a shortboard to claim the men’s over-60 crown.

In the over-30 women’s division, Karina Mitchell was the champion ahead of Tess Volckerts, Narelle Wakefield and Shannon Armstrong.

The best tube of the day went to Reece McLean and the best wipeout went to Darryn Oostdam.

Angus Spencer competes in the open men’s quarterfinal.
Camera IconAngus Spencer competes in the open men’s quarterfinal. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Albany Boardriders president Peter Bolt said the switch to a single day had been a positive move, with terrific surfing all day on Sunday.

“Conditions were really good,” Bolt said.

“There were plenty of options for waves and lots of great competition.”

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