Not since Trent Munro took down the late great Andy Irons on an unseasonably warm easter Sunday in 2005 has Cape Woolamai seen a WSL open event like what's about to come. The Inaugural Phillip Island Pro Men's and Women's QS1,000 is about to hit 'PI' and is set to be an action packed four days. Along with the Taiwan Open of Surfing, the event is the last of it's size in the region meaning it will play a big part in deciding the overall Australia / Oceania QS champions for 2017. Unlike the 2005 Rip Curl Pro that was moved to Phillip Island due to a lack of swell at Bells Beach, this event looks to have no shortage of waves leaving competitors jumping out of their skin to get competiton underway.
After a a slow start to the competitive year, big wave charger Dean Bowen is building momentum on his way to Phillip Island. The event's No. 1 seed will be looking for a big result when he heads to Woolamai for the first time.
"I've never been to Phillip Island so I am super excited to check it out," Bowen said. "I have heard plenty of stories about how good the waves can get over there so I'm hoping we score. I remember when Trent Munro won the Rip Curl Pro there over Andy Irons and the waves looked sick. I had a pretty rough start to the year and have been gaining some momentum in the back half so am hoping to carry that into the Phillip Island Pro this weekend."
Women's top seed Mikaela Greene will be looking for a strong result at the new event to keep her hopes alive in the race for the Australia / Oceania QS Ratings. Greene was the 2016 Australia/Oceania QS champion and has a chance to go back to back with a strong result at Phillip Island.
"I'm feeling quite confident heading to Phillip Island," Greene said. "I am coming off a win at a QS event in Morocco so I'm hoping to keep up my momentum. The last time I came to Phillip Island was for the Australian National Titles 8 years ago so it was definitely a throwback arriving a Cape Woolamai. It's great having this event at the back end of the year, especially for the women heading to the QS6,000 next week, it's good to have back-to-back events. I didn't really realise I was in contention for the Australia / Oceania QS but if I did win for the second year in a row it would be amazing."
"I'm so stoked to see Phillip Island recognised as a premier surfing destination and that the level of surfing on Phillip Island will be represented on a world qualifying level" said Hiatt. "I'm so grateful I've been chosen as the wild card for this event through my success in the grass roots level of local competition and I hope this motivates people to be involved at all levels from board riders to qualifying series."
Other wildcards awarded by the World Surf League include locals Carl Wright and Sage Goldsbury.
Event Director Adam Robertson, is looking forward to seeing some great surfing over the coming days.
"The field for this event is really strong. We have multiple Australian champions and former QS event winners throughout both draws and some very talented locals. With the forecast on offer we are looking at some great action at Cape Woolamai and possibly a large swell in the final few days."