Dale Lovelock (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) has claimed an emphatic win at the 54th Hakstar Mattara Pro over Jamie Skillin (Central Coast, NSW/AUS) to earn valuable World Surf League (WSL) QS1,000 points. Competitors slugged it out in tricky 1 - 2 foot windswell that tested the surfers ability to perform major maneuvers in lumpy, bumpy conditions.
This is Lovelock's first ever WSL QS victory after campaigning for a number of years and he well and truly deserved the win. In the Semifinals he overcame a red-hot Nicholas Squiers in an exciting battle that saw the pair exchange big scores.
In the Final he was on the back foot from the start after Skillin posted an 8.00 on his first wave. Lovelock waited patiently for a wave that would net him the required 6.60. In the dying minute he rolled the dice and unloaded three fast, vertical backhand turns. The judges deliberated until after the siren and Lovelock was on the sand. When the score of 6.75 was announced the new QS winner raised his hands in the air to celebrate his hard fought victory.
"It felt like forever before they read out my score," Lovelock said. "I was nervous and stressing for the whole heat because Jamie started with an 8.00. I knew I'd have to wait for a set, but there wasn't many of them so I had to be patient. When I was paddling into that one I just kept telling myself to settle down, I was so excited and nervous. I'm feeling great, feeling fitter and like I'm surfing as good as I ever have so I'd like to really give the QS a crack next year and see how I go."
Skillin was the event's silent assassin, posting big scores in every heat, and eliminated 2013 Hakstar Mattara Pro champion Ty Watson in the Semifinals. He finished the Final with the single highest waves score of an 8.00, but was let down by his 4.50 backup score that enabled Lovelock to leapfrog him.
"I was feeling good after getting the 8.00 at the start," Skillin said. "I almost didn't do this event because I've had a few injuries, but it ended up working okay for me. Dale did well to get that wave at the end, good on him. It's been a fun event, I only live 40 minutes away and I love coming to Newcastle."
Philippa Anderson (Newcastle, NSW/AUS) was the surprise story of the event, winning through three heats to finish equal 13th place out of the field of 64 (63 men, 1 woman). Anderson will take a lot of confidence and experience from this event into her 2016 women's Qualifying Series campaign.
"I went better in this event than I did in some women's QS events this year," Anderson said. "It feels great to make a few heats, I think this experience will give me more confidence and motivation for next year's women's QS. The waves have been tough, but to get through everyone has been in same situation and I've learned that sometimes you need to be patient and other times you need to get busy and manufacture a score."
Check the WSL event hub for more information.