Day 1 of the opening event of the Subway Surf Series on the Gold Coast was completed today in two-to-three foot waves at Duranbah Beach. The action was non-stop with Round 1 completed in Men and Women's divisions.
Heat 1 of the Men's was one to watch with the No.1 seed Ethan Ewing (AUS) of North Stradbroke Island just hanging on to win the heat. Ewing, needing a score in the closing minutes of the heat was able to take a wave that offered him room for two vertical snaps, which impressed the judges enough to put him into top spot.
"This is my second ever heat with four man priority," Ewing said. "I got confused a few times but have learned a lot from that heat. I'm lucky I was able to get a couple of waves that offered decent scores. It's so good that there is some hype and attention around Pro Junior events this year, I'm really excited to compete in this series."
After winning a wildcard into the up coming Burleigh Pro QS1,000 all eyes were on Gold Coast local Liam O'Brien in Heat 6 of Round 1. O'Brien played a patient game in what was an inconsistent heat meaning he was still in 3rd with a minute left. With seconds left O'Brien was gifted a set wave and wrapped off a number of rail turns to score the 6.50 he needed.
"It was certainly nerve racking waiting out there," O'Brien said. "I tried to control what I could control but it was quite an inconsistent heat. I knew if I just did my part the rest would be taken care of. I didn't know the score I needed at the end but knew it had to be better than any other wave I had caught so I just went for it."
In his first ever heat outside of Indonesia, Andri Anwar (IND) was able to adapt to the punchy beach break waves of Australia and post two mid-range scores with his stylish forehand attack. He now moves through to Round 2.
"I'm really happy to have made my heat," Anwar said. "This is my first time here in Australia and the waves are really fun. It's been really cool to meet all the crew here and make some new friends. I can't wait to surf my next heat and hopefully make it."
Sunshine Coast up and comer Reef Hazelwood just skimmed through his heat to progress into Round 2. Hazelwood stayed relaxed only taking three waves in the 20 minute heat.
"The conditions are really nice out there," Hazelwood said. "I'm pretty happy with how I surfed that heat. It wasn't a first but I'm not too fussed about that at the moment, I still made it to Round 2. I'm stoked the series is underway, it's going to be great checking out places like Kiama and Philip Island especially with the group that our doing the event's it's going to be fun."
A slow start for Ren Hashimoto (JPN) in Heat 2 of women' Round 1 meant the young Japanese Surfer had to ramp it up in the second half of her heat, which is exactly what she did. Utilising priority late in the heat, Hashimoto landed a long critical floater to improve her score and progress into Round 2
"I didn't get a good wave for so long," Hashimoto said. "The waves were good when they came so I just did my best and I'm happy to make it through the heat. I'm planning on doing a few more Subway Surf Series competitions so it would be good to gain some points."
With an amazing display of powerful and critical backhand surfing, Kirra-Belle Olsson lead India Robinson for the majority of Heat 3. With only seconds to go, Robinson took off on a smaller inside wave throwing a huge layback snap to earn the score and take the lead. Both surfers will progress to Round 2.
"I didn't know what score I needed when I took that wave," Robinson said. "I didn't have anything to lose and the wave only offered one section so I went for a layback and pulled it off. Really happy I got the score."
The WSL sanctioned Subway® Pro Junior events, which includes 18 and under men's and women's divisions, form part of the 2016 WSL Australasian Junior Qualifying Series (JQS), providing the winning athletes with an opportunity to win a coveted world title, at the WSL World Junior Championships in early 2017.
The Subway® Surf Series is proudly supported by WSL, Surfing Australia and Billabong.