Hedge tipped for top showing

Nathan Hedge is enjoying surfing again and is looking to return to the top level after a string of promising recent performances.
Nathan Hedge is enjoying surfing again and is looking to return to the top level after a string of promising recent performances. CHAD CALDERON, SURFING QUEENSLAND

THE man who lost his Queensland championship crown to Nathan Hedge this year reckons 'The Hog' should thrive in the conditions at the coveted Triple Crown of Surfing at Hawaii.

A top-10 surfer in 2004 and 2005, Hedge returned to serious competition this year after a two-year absence.

The 33-year-old has experienced some success, forging his way to number 79 in the ASP rankings.

Last week, the Sunshine Coast goofy-footer reached the round of 32 in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Reef Hawaiian Pro.

And yesterday, he convincingly won his opening round heat in the series' second leg, the Vans World Cup of Surfing.

Rainbow Beach's Noah Lane, who lost the state crown to Hedge early in the year, expects the rolling surf of the North Shore to suit Hedge's conventional power surfing approach.

"Where they are competing at the moment you don't really see a lot of that new style surfing, it's more back to the old school style of surfing. That's what the waves dictate there," he said.

"It's more for barrels and turns. There is not much there for airs and tricks. It's more for the traditional style of surfing."

Lane said he wasn't too amazed to see Hedge had forced his way back into the world surfing scene this year.

"He's a former world tour surfer so he's always going to place quite highly because he's got the experience. He's still quite a good surfer," he said.

"And I don't think he ever really stopped surfing. He stopped competing for a while but it's not something you forget, it's like riding a bike.

"I wouldn't say he's setting the world on fire just yet but he's definitely doing really well for someone who has come back after not competing for a couple of years."

But Lane was somewhat surprised to see Hedge troubling some of the real young guns of the sport, who thrive on cutting edge manoeuvres.

"The most surprising thing is that the sport has had a change of guard a little bit with the (young) surfers competing but he's still taking it to them," he said.

Whether Hedge can force his way back on to the World Championship Tour is another thing though.

"There's a lot of guys that are in that that top-100 and never crack it," Lane said. "Obviously he's done it in the past.....but whether he makes it or not again, it will be interesting to see if he does."

Meanwhile, Twin Waters product Chris Friend was eliminated in the first round of the Vans World Cup of Surfing after he finished last in his heat.

Fellow Sunshine Coast surfers Mitch Coleborn and Julian Wilson are yet to hit the water.

Topics:  nathan hedge surfing

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