Day one of the World Surf League Albion Capital Whalebone Classic Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) got underway this morning in clean and pristine conditions at Isolators Reef off the Perth metropolitan coast.
Reigning two-time World Longboard Champion Harley Ingleby (AUS) opened competition in sensational form. Surfing with great flow and style, Ingleby posted an 8.00 and 7.00 for a heat total of 15.00 (from a possible 20) Ingleby was seamless in his transition between major manoeuvres and looked in great touch.
"I literally flew into Perth last night," Ingelby said. "It's great to be back supporting an event which has been running for so long."
In the second heat of the day, a close battle ensued between two-tim World Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) and Ruben Roxburugh (AUS), with just 0.65 separating the surfers when the siren sounded. Despite posting the highest single wave score of the heat, Roxburugh was unable to take the heat win, Jensen now moves through to the next round.
"That was a really tough heat," Jensen said. "Not many set waves came through and utilising priority proved really important. I didn't surf my best but did enough to move through to the next round."
In heat three, Aurelien Meynieux (REU) looked in sync with the Indian Ocean, scoring a 7.00 and 6.75 to post an impressive round one win over West Australian Ryan Egan.
"It was all about strategy out there, picking the best waves and making it count," Meynieux said. "I haven't been able to surf and train as much as I'd like given the shark situation on my island of Reunion, but I'm really happy to be in WA and I've been enjoying my here."
Other Round 1 winners included, Clinton Guest (AUS), Scott Trew (AUS) Ryan Clark (AUS), Tim Fitzpatrick (AUS) and Nic Jones (AUS).
The WSL Women's LQS also hit the water today with some quality performances from the field of surfers from across Australia.
Rosin Carolan set the standard early taking out Heat 1 with a 7.75 and 7.25, to finish on a 15.00 two wave combined total.
"The conditions were amazing out there, super clean and perfect for noseriding," Carolan said. "It's great to be back in WA and I'm stoked to take the win."
Kathryn Hughes was another surfer to find great touch in the opening round of the women's LQS. In her first trip to WA, Hughes looked right at home, scoring a 7.50 and 6.75 to finish on a 14.25-combined total.
"WA is absolutely stunning," Hughes said. "The waves are similar to back home and have been super fun this morning."
Local favourite and defending Whalebone Classic Champion, Georgia Young made the most of her home ground advantage, posting two excellent scores to send an ominous sign to her fellow competitors.
"We've got some perfect longboarding conditions on offer today," Young said. "To share a typically busy line-up with just one other person is pretty special."
Competition will continue tomorrow with men and women's action to kick off from 7:30am sharp.
Check back at www.whaleboneclassic.com.au for more information on the event.