With a strong southerly change hitting Maroubra overnight, competitors at the 2017 Carve Pro Men's and Women's QS1,000 event were greeted with rugged waves on Day 3 of competition. Event organizers relished the overload of surf and ran another massive day of heats to draw closer to crowning Carve Pro Champions.
Ellie Brooks flew out of the gates early in her Round Three heat posting a 7.25 (out of a possible 10) straight out of the gate. However, the stylish naturalfooter struggled to find a back-up score as conditions changed, and had to endure a nerve wracking final minute.
"I surfed earlier to feel it out and then conditions completely changed," Brooks said. "That really confused me when my heat started. Making it to the finals is always a goal, so to do it at the first of several events in a row is great. I'm really happy with that."
Heat 2 of women's Round Three saw impressive performances from former Championship Tour surfer Claire Bevilacqua and young gun Kobie Enright. Enright dominated the heat continuing her form from the recent World Junior Championship where she finished equal 5th. And although she looked unfazed against Claire, Enright finds surfing against the older more experienced women to be daunting, yet educational.
"The conditions were super tough out there," Enright said. "It was a struggle to find a wave without a bumpy face so I just tried to catch as many waves as possible and eventually I got a decent one. Once I found the one I was after I just built from there. It's always intimidating coming up against former CT surfers like Claire. They have so much experience so it's scary but a great learning experience."
Coming into the Carve Pro Maroubra as the reigning champion, Mikaela Greene is stoked to be back at the place of her most memorable result. She continued her love affair with the event today posting the highest heat total of Women's Round Three. Greene moves into the Quarterfinals and a step closer to going back-to-back at the Carve Pro.
"It feels so good to be back here," Greene said. "I have some amazing memories of Maroubra so it's great to be competing in this event again. I'm feeling really confident in my surfing at the moment. I have been training really hard and I can definitely feel it in my surfing. I haven't put any pressure on myself to win the event but more to use it as a good launch pad for the season ahead."
Young Sunshine Coast native Reef Heazlewood played a patient game in Heat 1 of Men's Round Three. Heazlewood led the heat in its entirety only needing two waves to hold the top spot. The goofyfoot went to work with his backhand attack earning an excellent 9.00 point ride to progress into Round Five.
"That heat I tried a bit of a different strategy," Heazlewood said. "I usually try and catch every wave that comes near me in a contest, but today I played it a bit more patiently. It seemed to pay off as I had priority when it counted and I could take the best waves on offer."
Only having a short drive from his front door, Perth Standlick didn't count on his car running out of fuel on the way to his Round Four heat today. Standlick, who has been posting some of the highest heat totals of the event, only just made it to his Round Four match up. Running late didn't seem to affect his preparation, as he went to town on a handful of lefts. Standlick's powerful backhand attack earned him another solid heat total of 14.75 to progress into Round Five.
"I almost didn't make it down here," Standlick said. "I was pretty flustered when I first paddled out but that is the benefit of surfing with four man priority, you can basically surf your own heat. I opted to sit down and go for the lefts and it worked for me so I'm stoked."
Fifteen-year-old Caleb Tancred from the NSW central coast continued his dream run at Maroubra sneaking into Round Five in the second qualifying position. In only the second QS event of his young career, Tancred looked comfortable against his older rivals and will be ready to take on finals day at the Carve Pro.
"The only other QS I have surfed in was here last year and I got knocked in the first Round," Tancred said. "I'm feeling a lot better this year and really enjoying the experience. I don't feel too nervous against the older guys as I don't really have anything to lose. I know they would be more nervous about losing to me so I just try and play on that."