Nikki Van Dijk topped the field of competitors at Manly, capping off a strong showing with a 17.93 total in the event Final. Despite cracking the Top 10 last year, Van Dijk's competitive fire wants more this season with an updated goal of finishing in the Top 5.
"I had a lot of people congratulate me last year and that's awesome to hear," said Van Dijk. "But you get hungry and eager to keep that ball rolling. I'm going for the Top 5 this year. I really just want to put on a good show again and always better myself."
Defending event winner Laura Enever had another fantastic showing at Manly, losing to Van Dijk by a fraction of a point in the Semifinals. Enever struggled on the CT in 2015 relying on QS rank to requalify for the elite Tour in 2016. She's hoping her solid result at Manly will prepare her for a stronger start on the Gold Coast.
"I like surfing beachies so I feel this event suits me," said Enever. "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."
Tyler Wright was the top seed at the event and finished equal fifth. She's been making moves out of the water as well, on top of renewing her contract with Rip Curl, she's brought on former CT surfer Glenn Hall as her coach for 2016.
"Having Glenn on board as a coach has helped me a lot and I've learned so much from him already," said Wright. "I think he's helped me keep my competitive life balanced and he's helped me improve in so many aspects of my career."
Hawaiian Malia Manuel has already made the trek to Australia ahead of the Gold Coast event to compete at Manly and looks fired up to better her No. 10 CT finish in 2015. The snappy regularfooter has managed Quarterfinal finishes the past two seasons on the Gold Coast, but with four years of CT experience under her belt now her veteran experience might help her out this year.
Tour rookie Keely Andrew isn't taking her elite status for granted just yet, working to back up her requalification hopes with points on the QS. Her coach Tim Just discussed the challenges she'll face in her rookie season and finding time to train between events is one of them.
"A challenge is the schedule, it's gnarly," said Just. "From the start of Snapper, it's back to back until end of Margies. Then you get a three week break to Rio and then it's on to Fiji. The travel will be the hardest part for the rookies. She's probably better physically prepared than most of the Tour, so I think she'll handle that pretty well. It will be hard though to figure out how and when to train."
Don't miss the Top 17 kick things off at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast beginning March 10, 2016.