Day four of the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open presented by Coolridge continued to burn through World Surf League Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) heats as some of the world's most talented junior surfers attempted to cement their position in the Quarterfinals.
Elliot Paerata-Reid (NZL) is now the only surfer currently in the top ten of the WSL Australasia JQS rankings that still remains in the Skullcandy Oz Grom Open after taking out one of the most exciting heats of the event in round four. Paerata-Reid, Kyuss King (Byron Bay, NSW), Harry Bryant (Coolum, Qld) and Harley Ross-Webster (Curl Curl, NSW) all posted a series of above average scores, however Paerata-Reid managed to gain the upper-hand thanks to a massive 9.6 wave score (out of a possible ten points) and as a result, knocked Bryant (who was the only remaining surfer higher than him on the rankings) from the event.
Despite moments of brilliance from all other surfers, none managed to match Paerata-Reid's aforementioned score and had to battle for second position. Paerata-Reid will face off with Jared Hickel (Cronulla, NSW) in tomorrow's Quarterfinals.
"Straight away Harley managed to get a seven, then Kyuss banked an eight-point ride and then Harry did a psycho air-reverse, all before I even stood on a wave," said Paerata-Reid. "I began to think, 'I'm going to need a miracle here,' but then this perfect right-hander came straight to me and let me get that 9.6. I'm currently sitting on eighth spot on the JQS rankings and everyone ahead of me has been knocked out, so that's was playing on my mind a little bit before the heat, but now I'm going to just try and focus on my on game plan and not let it enter my mind too much."
Despite using his aerial prowess to positive effect yesterday, Jackson Baker (Merewether, NSW) was left to rely on his rail game to move through his round three and four heats. The Novocastrian natural-footer remained in fourth position for the majority of his third round heat, but was able to jump straight to first thanks to a 7.9 wave score. Baker then mirrored the same result in the fourth round, locking in a heat win and booking himself a spot into the Quarterfinals.
"I had a really slow start to those heats," said Baker. "I kept seeing people like Kyuss and Dextar Muskens flying over sections and I knew that they were a lot more lightweight than me, so I knew I had to find something bigger. Luckily that 7.9 came through and got me to move up from fourth to first."
Mitch Parkinson (Coolangatta, Qld) continued to build on yesterday's momentum progressing through round four and securing a spot in the Quarterfinals. In the process, Parkinson played a part in eliminating current WSL Australasia JQS rankings leader Kai Hing (Wurtulla, Qld) and current WSL Australasia JQS sixth place-holder Liam Mortensen.
"The waves were tough out there with this westerly wind and it was hard to do turns," said Parkinson. "I know everyone is really looking forward to getting into the quarterfinals now and getting to enjoy the priority system."
Local surfer Zac Wightman (Lennox Head, NSW) again made light work of the tricky conditions claiming a win in round three as well as a runner-up finish in round four. Wightman linked together a chain of powerful maneuvers, which catapulted him into a quarterfinal berth. Wightman will face off with Parkinson when the event resumes tomorrow.
"I knew I couldn't waste any time out there as there weren't too many waves coming through," said Wightman. "The other guys in my heats didn't need big scores to get through, so I made sure I kept my eyes on them to ensure they didn't steal my position from me."
Competition will commence each day at 7:00am with the call for the days schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6:30am. The event hotline is 0458 247 212.
The six-day event will see over 300 competitors duke it out in under-12, under-14 and under-16 divisions as well as a prestigious World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event.
All event divisions will be broadcast live on skullcandyozgromopen.com.au.
The Skullcandy Oz Grom Open presented by Coolridge is proudly supported by Skullcandy, Coolridge, Ballina Shire Council, Le-Ba Boardriders, Surfing NSW and World Surf League.