Day two of the inaugural Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) event, saw a series of epic battles and upsets in clean two-foot walls, as competitors fought tooth-and-nail to cement their position into the next round of competition tomorrow.
Isabella Nichols (AUS) showed why she was reigning World Junior Champion, notching up an impressive 16.00 heat total (out of a possible 20 points). The Sunshine Coast natural-footer started strong, posting a 7.75 scoring wave in the opening moments of the second round exchange, but remained quiet until the final minutes where she was able to post an 8.25 for a variety of giant forehand turns.
"Priority really came into play in that heat," said Nichols. "I wanted to catch as many waves as I could, but I feel that sometimes the priority system plays against me. I held it for the majority of the heat and I got really picky. Fortunately, I was able to get that final wave. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling throughout the rest of 2016."
Already locking in two WSL QS events in 2016, Maud Le Car (FRA) carried her winning momentum into the Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro where she fought a tight battle with local surfer Brittani Nicholl (Pottsville, NSW). Both surfers performed a barrage of impressive turns, however the local surfer was able to get the nod by a 0.50 margin. Both surfers will make their next appearance in round three tomorrow.
"I feel confident in my surfing and I'm really just enjoying every heat at the moment," said Le Car. "I'm just trying to do my best out there, not worry about the other competitors and focus on my own performance."
Ellie-Jean Coffey (AUS) put on an incredible display of backside power-surfing in her round two exchange to put all fellow surfers on the ropes. The Gold Coast goofy-footer opted to sit wide of the pack for a portion of the heat and as a result was able to post 13.75 heat total, which left her closest opponent Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) requiring a 8.75 to usurp her from the top spot.
"It always feels to get the first heat out the way," said Coffey. "We didn't have priority at the recent event in Burleigh, so it was nice to get out there in fun little waves and take turns. I surf this place pretty regularly, so it's unreal to have an event here."
2016 Burleigh Pro QS event champion Macy Callaghan (AUS) was unfortunately knocked from competition in the second round today falling victim to [Codie Klein]/athletes/3037/codie-klein) (AUS) and Stephanie Single (AUS). Callaghan was left chasing a mid-range score in the dying minute of the heat and despite her posting a 5.55 wave score for an technical chain of forehand hooks, the score still fell short by 0.35 points and eliminated her from the event.
"That wasn't the result I was really after," said Callaghan. "The waves were pretty slow in that heat and unfortunately that score just fell a little short. I will refocus now and head into Avoca and try and get a good result on home turf."
In his first QS event ever, Samuel Pupo (BRA) showed the competitive skills of a seasoned veteran, nailing a near-perfect 9.25 wave score, followed by an 8.25 for a variety of innovative aerial manoeuvres. The lightweight natural-footer and brother of current WSL World Championship Tour surfer Miguel Pupo will make his next appearance in the fourth round tomorrow.
"I've been doing airs since I was five years old, so whenever I have the chance to do one I want to go for it," said Pupo. "The waves are small, but the wind is perfect for doing airs. I was really nervous in that heat, so it's good to get it out of the way."
Ethan Ewing (AUS) survived a close call in the third round waiting until the final moments of the heat to open up his bag of tricks. Ewing, only caught three waves over the entirety of the 20-minute exchange, but his final 7.25 scoring wave was enough to propel him into the top-spot ahead of Chris Zaffis (Angourie, NSW) who was knocked down into the runner-up spot.
"Brent [Savage] and Jeames [Young] both only needed small scores to move into the top two spots and I knew I couldn't sit on both of them, so I opted to sit on Jeames and fortunately that final wave came through," said Ewing. "I knew that was going to be a super tough heat, so I didn't want to get too carried away, but just stick to my game plan."
All competitors are advised to ring the event hotline (0458 247 212) by 6.45am on the days of competition to confirm location and running order.
The NSW Pro Surf Series was developed for Australian and international surfers to gain ranking points and prize money on the WSL Qualifying Series. The Series also creates a NSW coastal road trip for all to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and enjoy NSW surfing culture.
NSW Pro Surf Series Dates and Locations: Carve Pro - Maroubra Beach, NSW 15-17 January, 2016 Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro - Cabarita Beach, NSW 1 - 4 Feb 2016 Central Coast Pro - Avoca Beach, NSW 9 - 12 Feb 2016 Komunity Project Great Lakes Pro presented by Rockstar Energy Drink - Boomerang Beach, NSW 15 - 18 Feb 2016
The 2016 NSW Pro Surf Series is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series is also proudly supported by Randwick City Council, Gosford City Council, Destination Tweed, Great Lakes Council & Tourism, NBN, GoGet, Lost Surfboards, World Surf League and Surfing NSW.