It's getting down to the business end of the draw at the Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro as Day 4 saw the completion of Women's Round Four and Men's Round Six. A light onshore breeze gave the 2-foot waves a bit of texture, but nothing that the world's Qualifying Series (QS) surfers couldn't handle.
The Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro is the third QS event of the year for West Australian Felicity Palmateer. The big wave charger hasn't been getting the results she has been looking for, but that might be changing at Cabarita. The goofyfooter's backhand attack earned her a heat total of 14.00 points (out of a possible 20) and a spot in the Quarterfinals.
"That was a tough heat," Palmateer said. "I've done a few QS events this year already and haven't been getting the results I've been after. I have been working really hard, training and working on my boards but not getting the results. I feel like I've been building momentum at this event and it is all beginning to pay off."
Sunshine Coaster Sophie McCulloch has been feeling the Australian summer small swell blues in 2017. Her hunger for waves has been made clear at Cabarita where the stylish natural footer seems to be having a ball in small wind-swept waves. She booked her ticket into the Quarterfinals with a heat total of 15.75, which she gained with a powerful display of rail turns.
"These waves are really fun," McCulloch said. "The waves at home have been really average for ages so to get fun waves in a heat is awesome. I think it helps with the results. I'm feeling pretty confident, my heat scores at this event and the previous ones have been good so there is no reason I can't keep winning heats."
In its first year as a QS event in 2016, the Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro was taken out by West Australian goofyfoot Jacob Willcox. He returned to Cabarita today with clear intentions of claiming back-to-back titles, posting big scores with his fast, powerful surfing.
"I don't really feel any pressure from being the reigning event champion," Wilcox said. "There is a bit of pressure as it's the first event of the year for me, so I'm just trying to feel everything out and get in a rhythm. I'm just stoked to be back here in Cabarita and getting some fun waves."
Reef Heazlewood continued his stellar run in 2017 posting an impressive heat total of 15.75 in Round Five at Cabarita. The stylish goofyfooter looks in good shape and attributes his success to a lot of hard work in the off-season.
"I have been training really hard at home recently," Heazelwood said. "It's nice to put in effort and see it pay off. Everything is feeling really good at the moment, my body my boards my surfing -- just everything. I'm having a lot of fun surfing as well and that always helps."
After kicking off the 2016 season with a bang, the rest of the year slowed down in the results department for former CT competitor Dion Atkinson. Atkinson has come into the 2017 season with a new, more relaxed outlook and it showed in his first day of competition for the year. The South Australian powerhouse posted an excellent 17.10 heat total to progress into Round Seven.
"It feels really good to be back and competing," Atkinson said. "The waves are pretty small but it's good to get rid of the nerves, I was actually really nervous this morning. I was a bit bummed with how last year went, I had a good start and then didn't do much. I'm trying to not put as much pressure on myself this year and just taking a more relaxed approach. My goal is still to qualify for the CT again."