After violent thunderstorms rocked the Gold Coast over night, mother-nature calmed by sunrise leaving competitors two-to-three foot waves with a light on-shore breeze at the Burleigh Pro presented by Bruce Lynton Land Rover.
Round 2 of the Men's kicked off the day and with it came the big seeds. And none more so than Gold Coast local and reigning event Champion Mitch Crews (AUS) who narrowly progressed to Round 3.
"I just got back from California so I'm a bit slow and jet lagged," Crews said. "I've been really excited to get the year off to a good start and there's no better place than Burleigh. Winning last year gives me a bit of confidence, but it's a big field with a lot of talent so it could be anyone's."
Burleigh local Thomas Woods (AUS) was a standout at the famed point he calls home and today was no exception with the exciting natural footer opting to sit further up the point from his fellow competitors, a tactic that payed off with Woods locking in his heat total of 15.75 in the opening minutes. Regardless of his commanding position, Woods continued to catch waves, enjoying the lack of crowd at his favorite wave.
"I've been watching that little section off the point for the last few days and thought it would be the place to sit when the tide is low," Woods said. "I haven't done the Burleigh comp for a few years so it's nice to surf my local with only a couple other guy's out."
It was brute power surfing that earned Victor Done (USA) a 7.00 and an 8.00 (out of a possible 10) early in his heat. The goofyfooter looked comfortable on his backhand going vertical on a number of sections and throwing huge amounts of spray, both things the judges love to see and reward with big scores.
"I really like surfing rights, I feel confident on my backhand," Done said. "I've never been in a position where I've had my two scores at the start of the heat sop I was a little nervous and didn't know how to surf the heat. I had a bad result at Huntington a few weeks ago so I've been working hard since then to get my boards and myself in order for this leg of contests, I'm feeling good."
A twin fin was the winner's board of choice in Heat 6 of Round 2, which was taken out Byron Bay native Garrett Parkes (AUS). Parkes was quiet for the majority of the heat until the last five minutes when he found a set wave that offered him a nice ramp to pull off an air-reverse, plus three turns to complete the wave. Parkes was scored an excellent 8.25 for his efforts and progresses to the third round.
"It's pretty tricky out there, it could have been anyone's heat." Parkes said. "There wasn't a whole lot on offer but I managed to find one with a bowl that was perfect for an air. Even though it's not classic Burleigh it's as good as any beach break we surf on the QS so I hope I can make a few more heats. I've been surfing this 5'2 twin fin all summer and thought it would go well out there today, and I suppose it did."
2016 Championship Tour rookie, Keely Andrew was on the ropes needing a 4.18 in the dying seconds of her opening Burleigh Pro heat. Taking off on a wave, Andrew put down two big turns, which earned her the score she needed to progress to the Quarterfinals.
"I knew I needed a score, I just didn't know what score it was," Andrew said. "I heard there wasn't much time left so I took that wave and it only had one decent section on it. I hit it as hard as I could and just had my fingers crossed. Luckily I got the score."
Former CT surfer and 2015 Burleigh Pro champion Dimity Stoyle surfed the final heat of Round 2 in diminishing conditions. Stoyle's experience showed, posting an excellent 8.50 in the tough low tide conditions.
"I'm stoked to have got the job done today, it's tough going out there," Stoyle said. "The conditions aren't great and I haven't been surfing here much recently so I'm glad to make it. This is my first event for the year so I was pretty nervous before I paddled out but once I was out there I was fired up."
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