Nick Squires (AUS) and Mikaela Greene (AUS) have taken out the first event of the World Surf League (WSL) Australasia Qualifying Series (QS) the Carve Pro QS1,000 in two-to-three foot waves at the picturesque Maroubra Beach in Sydney's Eastern suburbs.
Squires came up against Connor O'Leary (AUS) in the Men's final. Squires showed his incredible power as he has all event on his opening wave, throwing a number of hacks and a solid closeout manoeuvre to post an excellent score of 8.50 (out of a possible 10). He then backed it up with a 7.25 leaving O'Leary chasing a 7.76 for the remainder of the final. Coming close with a 7.20 O'Leary just missing out on the win gifting Squires the first QS victory of his career.
"It hasn't really sunk in yet," Squires said. "I have a young boy and a surf school that I run at home so juggling that with trying to compete is really tough to get a good result. I just tried to have fun and enjoy myself the entire event and before I knew it I was in the final. Then all of a sudden the hooter went an I had won, I'm pretty pumped."
Greene did battle in the final with event standout Philippa Anderson(AUS). Greene kept busy all heat posting a number of middle range scores while Anderson waited patiently. That patience, however, didn't pay off when Greene took off on a set wave laying down two critical re-entries to post a heat high 7.75 leaving Anderson needing a 7.90. Anderson was unable to find the score leaving Greene to take the win.
"I feel amazing, its such an incredible feeling" Greene said. "I have never even been in the Final of a QS event so to win is unbelievable. I wanted to use this event to warm up for the QS6000 events so to take a win is a massive confidence booster."
The tricky conditions meant that keeping busy seemed to be the difference in a lot of heats throughout the event, a tactic that Greene took notice of during the final. "My game plan throughout the comp was to stay busy and put a score up early. I also aimed to score a minimum heat total of 15.00 so once I had locked in my 7.75 I knew that was attainable, which helped to settle me."
Connor O'Leary was a standout all event carrying the momentum he built in Hawaii at the end of 2015 into the opening event of the Australasian QS series.
"It's good to see Nick win," O'Leary said. "I hope we both put on a good show for everyone who came down. It was definitely good to have a competition like this as a warm up before the QS6000's so I hope I can continue my form into those events."
Anderson, although disappointed on not taking the top spot, was still able to draw positives from the event.
"I really wanted to win this event," Anderson said. "Second is still a great way to start the year. Making the Final has helped my build confidence heading into the next event. Plus, getting some prize-money is great in helping me compete at these events as I aim to qualify for the Championship Tour."
On his way to the Final, Squires took down the number one seed and form surfer of the event, Stuart Kennedy, in what had to be the heat of the day. Squires lost his early lead as Kennedy took complete control of the heat until the final minute when Squires took off on a set wave and through a number of huge power turns including one amazing layback to get the high 8.00 ride he needed. Kennedy was disappointed with the result but enjoyed his time surfing at the Carve Pro.
"I didn't think that wave would give him the score," Kennedy said. "That wave was bigger and looked as if it was breaking into the channel a bit but it must of offered him a few good sections. It's always tough to lose that late in the heat after leading for most of it but I'm really happy with how I surfed throughout the event and hope I can carry that into some of the bigger events down the track. It's been really fun spending time here in Maroubra with my sponsor Carve and all their team, it's been a great event."
The next stop on the Australasia Qualifying Series is the Burleigh Pro presented by Bruce Lynton Land Rover and will run from January 29 - 31. The NSW Pro Surf Series was developed for Australian and international surfers to gain ranking points and prize money on the WSL Qualifying Series. The Series also creates a NSW coastal road trip for all to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and enjoy NSW surfing culture.
The 2016 NSW Pro Surf Series is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series is also proudly supported by Randwick City Council, Gosford City Council, Destination Tweed, Great Lakes Council & Tourism, NBN, GoGet, Lost Surfboards, World Surf League and Surfing NSW.