Coolangatta's Nick Vasicek en route to winning the Sunshine Coast Pro at Coolum on Sunday.
Coolangatta's Nick Vasicek en route to winning the Sunshine Coast Pro at Coolum on Sunday. Contributed

Hectic schedule sinks title defence hopes for Hedge

SUNSHINE Coast surfer Nathan Hedge has missed out on a fairytale finish to place second in the Chiko Sunshine Coast Pro.

Hedge had an exhausting lead-up to the competition, having to take five flights in two days to return from Brazil on the day of competition.

He landed at Sunshine Coast airport at 10.20am on Saturday and paddled out in his first heat at 1.30pm after he was knocked out in the first round of the Coca-Cola Quiksilver Saquarema Prime event earlier last week.

Admitting he was tired before hitting the water, an upbeat Hedge said it was important for him to come home and defend his title.

"Winning the event last year was such a highlight for me, so I wanted to get back here and try and go back-to-back," he said.

"It did take a bit of a toll on me but I was super excited to make the event and I surfed pretty well on the first day.

"I had a good rest at my auntie's place on Saturday night and woke up feeling great."

Hedge put on a stunning display of his famous power surfing and was looking in great shape to claim his second Sunshine Coast Pro.

Lining up in the final against Noosa's Hayden Cervi, Coolangatta's Nick Vasicek, and Snapper Rocks' Mitch Parkinson, Vasicek snatched victory with a combined two-wave total of 14.50 to beat Hedge (12.57), Cervi (10.76) and Parkinson (7.33).

Hedge said he felt no disappointment in his second place finish and was happy to see Vasicek get the result.

"I'm so happy for Nick because he's been one of the better surfers for a long time so I am stoked for him," he said.

Heading to the Gold Coast for a week of rest at his mother's place, Hedge said he would be off again soon as he hunts for valuable world championship points.

"I haven't decided where my next World Qualifying event will be, but I'm leaning towards a competition in Africa," he said.

With his heart set on a World Championship Tour berth in 2014, Hedge said it would be a huge personal achievement to gain entry onto next year's elite tour.