The Hakstar Mattara Pro celebrated its 54th anniversary, running through Round 1 and half of Round 2 in the World Surf League (WSL) QS1,000-rated event. Knee-to-waist-high waves tested the Qualifying Series (QS) surfers as they battled through for a chance to surf on Final's day tomorrow.
Dale Lovelock (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) went on a rampage in Round 2, posting the highest single-wave score of the day, plus the highest two-wave heat-total. Lovelock was able to execute vertical turns and link together a string of fast and powerful turns to easily advance into Round 3.
"This board is a bit of weapon that I keep just for competition," he said. "I do feel really confident in small surf, I'd love it if it was a little bigger. I'm feeling great, feeling fit and I'm really excited for the next Round. I really love Newcastle and it's great to have another QS in Australia to give us some more opportunities."
Nicholas Squiers (Sth Coast, NSW/AUS) was one of the day's standout performers, surfing with speed and power to easily advance to Round 3 and one of the final 16 surfers left in the event. Elliot Paerata-Reid (NZL), the only international surfer left in the event advanced through to Round 3 in 2nd position.
"I'm really hungry to do well here because I need some points to qualify for the QS6,000s next year," Squiers said. "This is a great event, I love Newcastle, it's a lot like Wollongong so it's nice to get up here for an event and a holiday. This is a huge opportunity, it will show the younger kids from around here what it takes to be successful in competition."
Philippa Anderson (Newcastle, NSW/AUS) entered the Hakstar Mattara Pro to keep competitive during her offseason as the women's QS has finished for the year. Anderson progressed through the heat in second position behind Lliam Mortensen (Nthn Beaches, NSW/AUS).
"I went in this contest because it's at my home break and I can use it as an opportunity to learn and improve," Anderson said. "I've come close to qualifying for the Championship Tour (CT, the elite-level Tour) a few times now, so I need to keep learning and improving if I'm going to get there. It was great to see the difference, I think the girls tend to get busy and catch a lot of waves, but in that heat the guys just waited for the right waves and I tried to do the same and build on my scores and it worked out for me in that one."
"I really glad they upgraded this event to WSL rating," Mortensen said. "All the guys go in this event anyway so it's great to have another WSL event for us here in Australia. The waves were a bit weak and wobbly, so it feels good to come away with the win and couple of scores."
Ty Watson (Sth Coast, NSW/AUS) won this event back in 2013 and is looking dangerous again this year, posting solid scores in both his Round 1 and Round 2 heats wins.
"It's an honor to be on the winner's list at such a prestigious event, hopefully I can get back up there again this year," Watson said. "The conditions were tough, but I live in Bondi now so I'm used to small surf and battling the crowds for waves. I'm really looking forward to Finals day tomorrow."
Check the WSL event hub for more information.