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Schick Hydro Ocean Thunder Pro Surf Boat Series - Event 4

Sydney's Dee Why beach was abuzz on Saturday with a large crowd gathering for the  fourth and  final round of this summer's Schick Hydro Ocean Thunder Pro Surf Boat series. Australia's top 36 surf rowing crews from all over Australia converged on Dee Why for the series which is viewed by millions  of television viewers worldwide.

An innovative format saw the men's morning rounds extended to eight, hotly contested rounds which slowly cut the mens field of 24 down to the top 8 semi final. Reilly & Sons Food Services (Bungan Beach) who narrowly mised the final in event three raised eyebrows, dominating the morning session with five wins and three seconds from their eight races. Australian Cable Tray Systems (Manly) and Creffields Digital Printing (Lorne) also looking impressive heading into the afternoon semi finals.

The semi finals were contested by Reilly & Sons Food Services (Bungan Beach), Australian Cable Tray Systems (Manly), Creffields Digital Printing (Lorne), Dial Before You Dig (Mona Vale), St George Leagues Club (Bulli),  series leader Culligan Water (Bilgola), event three winners Southern Fasteners (North Cronulla) and Sheldon Office Fitouts (Newport).

The Womens morning preliminary ronds were also raced under an innovative format which reduced the field of 12 down to semi finals  over  5 races. Both series leaders Culligan Water (Bilgola)  and Australian Cable Tray Systems (Manly) were impressive with 3 wins each. Both Chocolate Box Training (Bilgola)  and Hocking Stuart Torquay (Jan Juc) who started the day  in equal second position on the cumulatgive series pointscore were both surprisingly eliminated before the 6 boat final.

With thanks to The Beach Club Collaroy, an invitational series was held on the day comprising under age crews who qualified to compete on the big screen by reaching the final of January's Collaroy Young Guns. The under 19 division saw  South Curly Swamp Donkeys successful, the under 23 womens final was won by Helensburgh Stanwell Park . The mens under 23 final, a gruelling double race was won by Newport Knights.    

The Mens double race  final was contested by series leader Culligan Water (Bilgola), Reilly & Sons Food Services (Bungan Beach), Southern Fasteners (North Cronulla), Dial Before You Dig (Mona Vale), Sheldon Office Fitouts (Newport) and St George Leagues Club (Bulli).  Pre race favourites, Reilly & Sons Food Services (Bungan Beach) were the hard luck story of the day, getting seriously checked by a series of two metre waves on the first row to sea, the rest of the field completed the first half of the race relatively unscathed with all five boats in contention for a spot on the winners dias. Current Ocean Thunder and Australian Champions, Dial Before You Dig (Mona Vale) masterfully used the conditions to their advantage coming away from the field in the final row home, winning the day from St George Leagues Club (Bulli) and Southern Fasteners (North Cronulla).

The womens double race final was contested by  Surf Vest Australia (Elouera), Australian Cable Tray Systems (Manly), series leader Culligan Water (Bilgola), event one winners Westrac (North Cottesloe), Dial Before You Dig (Cooks Hill) and The Beach Club XXXX Gold (Collaroy) with event one winners Westrac (North Cottesloe) claiming  a commanding victory over Culligan Water (Bilgola) and Dial Before You Dig (Cooks Hill).

In a truly remarkable double, Culligan Water (Bilgola) were crowned Men's & Women's series champions in a lavish awards ceremony held post event. Event spokesperson Julie Anderson commented on the remarkable efforts by the Culligan Water crews winning the Ken Murray Cup (Men) and Don McManus Trophy (Women) and made special  mention of Mitch Foran, the sweep of the winning Culligan Water (Bilgola) Women's crew who also rows in the winning Culligan Water (Bilgola)  Mens crew which is swept by the legendary Don McManus.