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“Mitch Rawlins (AUS/Gold Coast) has taken out the 2012 IBA Box Pro. The Box turned on for the final day of competition, providing powerful 6-8 foot waves over the shallow reef. Originally from Queensland, Ralwins has spent a large portion of his bodyboarding career chasing waves and honing his skill here in the Western Australia’s south west. Throughout the event, Rawlins combined tube rides with high flying aerial maneuvers to rack up excellent scores and had South Africa’s Mark McCarthy in a combination situation for 26 minutes of the 30 minute final. McCarthy fought back in a last ditch effort, but was still counting a 2.5 as a second scoring ride and ran out of time before he could find the required score of an 8.25 for the win.

After being carried up to the podium by his friends, Rawlins choked back tears as he thanked his family for their support.

“The guys were going so hard,” Rawlins said. “It was a grueling contest, but I am having fun now. You rock up at each event, hoping for the best and you don’t realize until you win how good it is to win an event like this. It is pretty special. Hopefully I can get on track and compete with all the top guys at the end, which I guess is what you want when you are on tour.”

This win has put Rawlins into tie 3rd place on the IBA Grand Slam Series (GSS) rankings.

Mark McCarthy (ZAF/Richards Bay) held down the highest heat score and highest single wave score of the event, he looked unstoppable until he lost his magic touch in the final, falling to an in form Mitch Rawlins (AUS/Gold Coast).

I am stoked to make the final,” said McCarthy. “I am not disappointed with a second, but it is just saddening not to win a final. When you make that final, you always want to win it. I just felt really out of rhythm in that final and Mitch just picked up all the good ones.”

This result has rocketed McCarthy into tie 3rd place on the IBA Grand Slam series (GSS) rankings. “I am happy for him (Rawlins)and will just have to start focusing on the next one. These are good points, points I needed. I got a 9th at Pipe and a 2nd here, I am not sure where that puts me, but I am looking forward to Arica.

Arica is stop number 3 of 8 on the IBA GSS tour and will be held at the notorious El Gringo in Arica, Chile from May 18-27.

Jacob Romero (HAW/Maui) shared a 3rd place finish with Dave Winchester (AUS/Mullumbimby). The young Hawaiian managed to fight his way from Round 2 of the trials into the semifinals of the main event, where he was finally stopped by Rawlins. Requiring a good score (7.09) to progress, Romero took to the sky with what spectators were calling the biggest air of the event, but was unable ride out of the brutal landing.

Happy with his result, Romero elated,”It felt like I was just surfing back at home. I felt really comfortable hitting sections and finding the right waves. I just want to say thanks for all the support from all the boys, my girlfriend, my mom, my dad.”

Finishing 4th in the trials and 3rd in the GSS, Romero will potentially be able use both results to build on his campaign to qualify for the 2013 IBA GSS.”