Ty Watson and Ren Hashimoto won out the 2017 Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro in fun, 2-to-3 foot waves at the beautiful Cabarita Beach. It was a massive five days of action with Watson and Hashimoto having to overcome a field of more the 250 hungry competitors from all corners of the globe.
After almost two years away from competing, Culburra charger Watson is back on the Qualifying Series (QS) in 2017 and loving it. Following his 5th-place finish at Burleigh, he came into the Tweed event searching for glory and found it with the biggest win of his career.
The Final was an absolute thriller with the lead continuously changing between Watson and his opponent, Cam Richards of South Carolina. In the dying seconds Watson held the lead when he and Richards found an A-frame and split the peak. They both surfed it incredibly well, but it was Watson who came out on top with a heat total of 15.70.
"I've never won a QS before so I'm stoked to get one under the belt," Watson said. "I've been out injured for a couple of years which has been tough. In the lead-up to this year I have been training super hard. Getting a fifth at Burleigh was great but to get win here is just amazing. The conditions weren't great but I have a really good summer board which worked well for me."
The Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro was the second Final on the Vissla NSW pro Surf Series for Cam Richards who won the Carve Pro at Maroubra earlier in the year. Richards was in incredible form all event but was unable to overcome Watson in the Final even though he fought until the dying seconds.
"Going into this event I just thought what ever happens, happens," Richards said. "Another Final is really sweet and second is a good result so I'm stoked. It was good we had some better waves today, the surf was actually really fun and enabled us to do some big turns which was good. Waiting on the beach for those scores was pretty nerve-racking, although I was confident that I wasn't going to get the score. It was another really fun event."
Hashimoto flew under the radar all event taking down some of the event's biggest names. She left her most dominant performance for the Final, where she met Cronulla's Stephanie Single. Hashimoto posted an excellent 8.50-point ride early on a long left hander and put her opponent into a combination situation (needing two scores). Single fought to come back but Hashimoto's early charge was too much for her to get equal, leaving Hashimoto to take the win.
"This is the biggest win of my career, I'm just so happy," Hashimoto said. "I was really nervous all heat because I know how good Steph is and how well she has been surfing all event. Even when I had her in combination I knew she could easily come back."
Hashimoto recently moved from Japan to the Gold Coast to work on her surfing, which is obviously paying off. Although she now lives 15 minutes up the road, this was the first time she has ever surfed at Cabarita, a place that will now have a big place in her heart.
"I usually surf around the Gold Coast and never come down here. This is now probably my favourite beach. I can't wait to get to Boomerang now and try and keep a roll on."
Although Single was left chasing two scores in the Final, her will and determination to come back was seriously commendable. She will now head to the Komunity Project Great Lakes Pro at Boomerang Beach with more confidence.
"Obviously everyone would prefer a win than a second but I'm really stoked to have made the Final," Single said.
"I struggled to find a decent wave in the Final which was frustrating, but she did. I suppose that is just surfing. I know if I found a decent wave I could have got the score I needed. This is the best result I've had in ages."