Friday 18th January 2019
Huskisson, New South Wales (NSW).
The team to represent Australia at the 8th Hobie® Fishing World Championship presented by Daiwa, which will be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland (Qld), Australia, was announced in Huskisson, NSW today.
The Australia team was selected from the top eight anglers in Hobie Kayak Bream Series 10 Angler of the Year point score. The standings were calculated from an angler’s best five tournament finishes in the eleven round, national series.
The Australia team for 2019 is: Kris Hickson (NSW); Jack Gammie (NSW); Glenn Allen (NSW); Simon Morley (NSW); Tyson Hayes (Qld); David Shanahan (Vic); Andrew Hancox (NSW) and Richard Benson (NSW). Mark Young (NSW), also received a place in Hobie Fishing Worlds 8 (HFW8) by winning the “Anglers Choice Award” at the last world championship in Amal, Sweden in 2018.
The target species for the HFW8 is bream. The Aussie team goes into the third world championship to be held in Australia, with a distinct advantage; the team was selected from the Hobie Series in Australia which solely targets bream in eleven tournaments held across the nation.
On both occasions, at the two previous worlds held in Australia, Americans have led the field of anglers after the first day of competition. Jose Chavez (Florida, USA) led at Port Macquarie (NSW) in 2011 and Justin Carter (Florida, USA) in 2013 at Bemm River (Vic). However, no international competitor has managed to stand on the podium, on the final day of a Worlds contested in Australia.
The 2019 Aussie team is highly skilful, well rounded, and made up of anglers with a depth of bream fishing experience, which could potentially see the Australians make a clean sweep of the top three places for a third time at a Worlds. In HFW1 at Camden Haven and Port Macquarie Scott Baker (Vic) won the first world championship, Jason Meech (NSW) was second and Kevin Winchester (NSW) third. In 2013 at Bemm River and Marlo in Victoria, Richard Somerton (Vic) won the world championship, Chris Burbidge (Vic) was second and Grayson Fong (Qld) was third.
Leading the Aussie assault at HFW8 is 2018 Australian Angler of the Year, Kris Hickson, from Camden Haven (NSW). Hickson is a standout out, all round fish magnet and won his place in the Australia team with a round win, two 2nds and two 3rd places rounding out his top five best finishes in the national series. Hickson competed in two other rounds in 2018 for a 4th and a 10th place. He won a total prize pool from the Hobie season of $6550, a new model Hobie Outback, and is yet to be presented with an AOY cash payout of $1000 from Mortgage Corp. He also has a chance to win a second Hobie Outback and cash prizes in the Series 10 Australian Championship, which will be held in Forster (NSW) in February.
Hickson, while not having previously represented Australia in a world championship, is a seasoned international angler who has competed in tournaments in places such as South Korea, South Africa, Canada and China among others. He finished second at the Australian Championship in 2016, at the HFW8 venue, behind 2013 world champion Richard Somerton from Vic. Favourites have been tagged for events in the past, not all, but some have lived up to expectations, such as Steven Lessard (USA) in Louisiana in 2016. If there ever was an angler to match the skills and to have the tenacity to overcome the pressure placed on Lessard back at HFW6, it will be Kris Hickson in 2019.
There are three other first time qualifiers for the Australia team at HFW8. David Shanahan (Vic), a regular on the Hobie Kayak Bream Series circuit, generally competes in rounds that are held in waterways where Black Bream dominate. Shanahan finished sixth on the 2018 AOY listing with one podium finish for a 3rd place. He rounded out his top five with a 4th, a 9th and two 19th places. Shanahan won $1540 during series 10 last year and is a quiet achiever.
Tyson Hayes finished fifth in the top eight in AOY. He is a young Queenslander, with more than five years, experience in competitive fishing. Hayes knows the Gold Coast waterway and its idiosyncrasies more than most, and this advantage places him in a strong position to do well in the world championship. Hayes improves from year to year and has always been a likely national representative, if he ever managed to compete in enough rounds. He did that in 2018, winning $930 along the way from a 3rd, a 4th, a 14th and two 16th place finishes.
The final rookie member of the Aussie team is Andrew Hancox (NSW). Hancox, a regular at boating tournaments, made a full assault on the kayak series in 2018, competing in enough rounds and performing well enough to qualify to represent Australia for the first time. He had a big win early in the season, and followed it up with a 3rd, a 13th, a 17th and a 24th, winning himself $3100 for his efforts.
The four remaining team members for HFW8 are all previous Australian representative anglers at world championships.
In his first year out of the youth division, Jack Gammie (NSW) had a stellar first up appearance for Australia in 2018 in Sweden. Fishing for Pike for the first time, he went into the final day of competition sitting in 3rd place with a strong chance to grace the podium. He fell just short coming in, in sixth place at his first worlds, and finishing in the highest position of any Australian. Gammie has fished the Gold Coast waterway numerous times, and with the rapid improvement and dedication we have observed over the past two years, he is going to put in an extremely strong performance in July.
Glenn Allen from the Central Coast in NSW will represent Australia for the third time when he competes on the Gold Coast. He has previously competed in two world championships, Amal Sweden 2018 and Shang Lake in Changshu, China in 2015. Allen qualified for the team, finishing in third place on the 2018 AOY list with a 2nd, two 5ths, a 12th, and a 15th. These five tournaments were the only rounds he competed in during the season, making his performance, all-the-more, impressive. He won $1790 for his efforts in the series. Allen is a great bream angler and is set to achieve his highest place on a Worlds’ leaderboard in 2019.
Richard Benson from Newcastle in NSW qualified to represent Australia for the first time in Amal, Sweden, due to excellent performances in his first season in the Hobie Kayak Bream Series. Benson, having never previously fished for Pike, went on to land an 82cm specimen within the first 15 minutes of his first world championship. In his second Hobie season he has once again qualified for the Aussie team. This time he’ll be targeting a species he is extremely familiar with. He finished the series 10 season with a 6th, a 9th, a 12th, a 14th and a 21st. If Benson can stick it out for the full three days of angling, then he has the skills to end near the top of the Worlds’ roster of anglers.
The eighth angler to represent Australia at HFW8 is Simon Morley form Bulli in NSW. Morely was the 2015 Australian Angler of the Year and has represented Australia at two worlds, the Netherland in 2014 and Sweden in 2018. Morley qualified for the team in fourth position with a 4th, a 6th, a 7th, a 7th and a 22nd. Morley has experience fishing on the Gold Coast waterway for bream, however, he hasn’t performed up to his own high standards on the Nerang River. Nevertheless, an angler of his skill and application can never be discounted and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Morley gracing the podium come Worlds 8.
Finally, Mark Young will make up a team of nine Australians. Young had a memorable first worlds appearance in Sweden in 2018 catching his first ever Pike (63cm), just 50m from the Power-Pole starting line, on day one of the tournament. At the presentation night at HFW7 Young was voted by his fellow competitors to receive the “Angler’s Choice Award”, giving him free entry and travel to the following world championship. While he has had a quiet Australian series this year, Young is an excellent bream angler and has fished the Nerang River on the Gold Coast at the 2016 Australian Championship and in a series 9 round. Young adds another level of skill and experience to this strong, all round Australia team.
Along with the Australians, anglers from around 20 countries and 5 continents will congregate at Southport on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia from July 20-27 for Hobie Fishing Worlds 8.
There is a wealth of information that is constantly being updated at hobiefishingworlds.com.
Check it out!
Thanks to Daiwa, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Gerber, Lurefans, Scotty, Aftco, Savage Gear, RailBlaza and Hobie Polarized.