A solid four-to-six foot southerly swell was on offer today as the Subway® Surf Series at Avoca kicked off its first day of competition.
Brazilian Mateus Herdy put on a dominant display of surfing, nailing himself a 12.75 heat total (out of a possible 20 points). Since arriving in Australia for the World Junior Championship in Kiama back in early January, Herdy has been posting an array of mixed results on the World Surf League (WSL) Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) as well as turning heads on the Qualifying Series (QS).
"There was a lot of water moving out there, which made things tricky," said Herdy. "I've been in Australia for the last two months and I've had some awesome waves up and down the east coast. I really want to get a few decent results while I'm here and hopefully help my seed on the QS."
Earning another win for the internationals, Indonesia's Rio Waida unloaded a barrage of giant frontside turns to earn himself a 13.15 heat total and a spot into the second round.
"It's always good to get the first heat out of the way," said Waida. "I watched the lineup a lot before my heat and knew which ones to get, but it was definitely difficult to find them in the lineup."
Finn Hill was one of the top local performers, using his knowledge of the tricky sandbank to conjure up a respectable 12.40 heat total. Hill nailed a mix of innovative fins-free turns to take his heat ahead of Ethan Raper (Narrabeen, NSW), Zac Michael (Maroubra, NSW) and Callum Robson (Evans Head, NSW) who claimed second, third and fourth respectively.
"I was definitely feeling confident on that bank as I've been surfing it quite a bit," said Hill. "It was surprising to see the swell jump so much, so I knew I had to be picky to get the good waves. Hopefully it'll clean up a bit for the final two days of the comp."
Defending Avoca Subway Surf Series champion Kobie Enright (Tweed Heads, NSW) played a smart heat only catching three waves over the duration of the battle. Enright posted a respectable 11.65 to take her heat convincingly ahead of Elle Clayton-Brown (Corlette, NSW) and Madison Poole (Newcastle, NSW).
"That heat was a lot of hard work," said Enright. "There's definitely waves out there, but they're hard to find. I think I actually favour waves like this though as I'm a bit bigger and like it to be a bit more powerful."
13-year-old Zahli Kelly (Cabarita, NSW) had little drama adapting to the shifty peaks at Avoca taking out her opening exchange. Kelly nailed a variety of impressive turns to take the heat with a 12.40 heat total.
"I'm so stoked and relieved to get through that heat," said Kelly. "My goal is to qualify for the World Juniors and stay on top of the ratings, so hopefully I can keep gaining momentum as the heats go on."
Surfers have come from all four corners of the globe to contest event three of the Subway® Surf Series, with competitors hailing from the Basque Country, Hong Kong, Brazil, Indonesia and New Zealand as well as all around Australia.