The 2017 Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro has continued at Cabarita today with women's seeded Round Two being completed. The top women surfers were dealt a similar card on the conditions front as Day 1 with strong cross-shore winds and 2-to-3 foot waves.
For some competitors, surfing in the first heat of the day can be a tough task both physically and mentally. This isn't the case for Gold Coaster Lucy Callister who admits she prefers the earlier heats. Callister proved this in Heat 1 of Women's Round Two when she overcame 2015 World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols. Callister posted an excellent 8.50 (out of a possible 10) single wave score on her way to her win with a solid display of backhand carves.
"I really like the first heat of the morning," Callister said. "Most people can't stand it but I really like it. It just gets it out the way without having to think about it to much. Plus, at the moment the winds are lighter in the morning so that was a good thing. Another thing I like is coming up against girls who have recently had good results because I feel it takes the pressure off me and I can sort of fly under the radar."
Former CT competitor Dimity Stoyle played a patient game in her Round Two heat at Cabarita. Stoyle had a particular wave in mind and wasn't moving on anything that didn't fit its description. When she found it she made it count, posting a mid-range heat total of 12.50 to progress into Round Three.
"Conditions like this are always really hard," Stoyle said. "I only caught two waves and they were scores which made it all run smoothly. It is tough out there but I'm liking the board I'm on so whenever I get a good wave I know that the board will work how I want it to."
After a few years in a row of hovering inside the top 50, Ellie Brooks has decided that 2017 is the year to make some changes and have a charge towards the top of the rankings. One change she has made is getting some heat strategy advice from Mick Fanning's former coach Phil McNamara and former CT competitor turned coach Dan Ross. Both sets of extra eyes were on hand at Cabarita and it seemed to pay off with Brooks looking calm and poised on all of the best waves of the heat. She posted a mid-range heat total of 13.50 to progress into Round Three.
"Since the end of last year I have made a few changes in my routine," Brooks said. "One of those changes was training with Phil Mac and Dan Ross, which is a great combination. It's just great to have an extra set of eyes at the beach during a competition to help pick where to sit and what waves to go for. I'm just trying to make a few of my own choices this year and that was one of them and it seems to be working for me at the moment."
With the Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro being the fifth event Macy Callaghan has entered in less than a month it's safe to say each heat is becoming a blur. Although Callaghan's stamina is being tested, it isn't showing in her surfing as the current World Junior Champion progressed through another heat today at Cabarita.
"All of these heats are becoming a bit of a blur," Callaghan said. "I would be lying if I said it wasn't getting hard to stay focused especially when the waves are like they are today. I just need to push through and keep as focused as possible. I am going to be surfing to win but I'm also looking forward to having a bit of a break."
Once the twelve heats of Women's Round Two was completed it was time for Round Three of the men's to hit the water.
The standout of the Round was former CT competitor Jihad Khodre from Brazil who continued his incredible form in Heat 3. Khodre put his three opponents in combination (needing two scores) early in the heat. His reckless and powerful forehand surfing was incredible and earned himself a heat total of 17.90, the highest of the entire Round.
"I'm feeling amazing," Khodr said. "I wasn't really thinking to much about how I would go in this event and was more focused on myself, my frame of mind, my body and just being thankful to be here. I feel like the rest just came once I put myself in that headspace. I also have a great board under my feat, which helps."