Another sunny day with two-to-three foot waves has greeted competitors on Day 5 of the Australian Open of Surfing and Aussie Bodies Pro at Manly Beach. The field has been narrowed from 144 Men and 72 women down to the final 16 in each division.
The first heat of the day was taken out by Italian ripper Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA). Fioravanti has continued his momentum since finishing runner-up at Surfest in Newcastle last week. Known for his ability in the air, Fioravanti opted to keep it on the face to post a 6.30 and an excellent 8.33 (out of a possible 10) for a heat total of 14.66.
"I feel like through these early rounds it's about trying to survive," Fioravanti said. "It's all about posting scores that will get you through but once it goes to man-on-man heats, that's when you have to start to go big. I just try and surf smart, do what I know will get a score and use my priority, it seems to be working so far."
Former CT competitor and Brazilian powerhouse Heitor Alves (BRA) used his years of competitive experience to grind his way through a busy heat. Alves managed to find a couple of waves that opened up as he wound down the line bashing a number of forehand hits to post a modest heat total of 11.87 and progress to Round 5.
"It was a hard heat to get through but a great heat because I won," said Alves. "I was watching the last few heats before so I felt confident with the game plan I had. I have been surfing out the front here all week which I don't usually do but I have really focused on surfing this bank and it's working well."
Malia Manuel (HAW) found herself in a sticky situation in her Round 4 heat being in third spot for the entire heat trailing young Australian's Macy Callaghan and Bronte Macaulay. Needing a medium score, Manuel took a wave in the dying seconds to post a 6.73 and move into first. The CT competitor was lucky to win with only 0.30 points separating the 3 competitors.
"My adrenaline was pumping all through the heat," Manuel said. "I've been watching that righthand bank all week so I went and sat on it today and just hoped something would pop up on it. I feel like it was a bold move to sit up there away from the other girls, especially when I wasn't finding any waves, then that one came out of no where and I thankfully got the score."
Another CT competitor who found herself trailing for the majority of the heat was the No.1 seed Tyler Wright (AUS) who searching for a score to progress to Round 6. Wright eventually found a right that she smashed two big snaps on, throwing huge amounts of spray to move into first and closer to the finals.
"I tried to be patient for that heat and couldn't really find a wave," Wright said. "There wasn't many coming through, I was stoked that when I was needing a score I got it. I just stayed calm and kept telling myself a wave would come and when it would I'd be able to get the score."
Australian Open of Surfing defending Champion Laura Enever (AUS) continued her excellent run through the event utilizing the two peaks on offer to post an excellent 8.33, backing it up with a 6.10 with a good display of forehand and backhand surfing.
"The waves are difficult today but I just moved between the two banks and managed to get a couple of good scores," Enever said. "I like surfing beachies so I feel this event suits me. I've been doing well at the QS events and not so much at the CT's so I hope I can carry this form into Snapper and the rest of the Tour."