MANLY BEACH, NSW/AUS (Monday, 10th February, 2014) - Today the opening round of the men's ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series division at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing hit the water at Manly Beach. The event ploughed through 24 heats of competition and saw 48 surfers eliminated and 48 advance into the seeded Round of 96 that will get underway tomorrow. The action didn't stop all day and the world's best surfers didn't disappoint, there was monster airs and gouging turns as they fought for all-important ASP Qualifying Series ranking's points and prize-money.
Slade Prestwich (ZAF) and Dane Reynolds (USA) put on a show in one of the most entertaining heats of the day with both surfers advancing in first and second place respectively. Prestwich surfed a near flawless heat, posting two excellent scores in the tricky low tide conditions, earning one of the highest two wave heat totals of the day â€“ 16.10 out of a possible 20.
â€œI surfed out there this morning and straight out the front of the contest is really shallow, I knew there would be some good waves there,â€ Prestwich said. â€œI saw Dane (Reynolds) paddling up the beach but I stayed right out the front and I got a good one straight away. Then I was able to wait for the good waves, it was a fun heat.â€
Reynolds decided to surf the heat solo, paddling up the beach and surfing a bank all by himself. Although it worked in the end, his fans suffered a nervous wait as it took him six waves to score over a 3.10. On wave number seven he switched into gear, unloading a barrage of backhand blasts, earning a 7.86 (out of a possible 10), that he then backed up with a 6.13.
â€œIt's great to spend a few months in Australia. I love it over here,â€ Reynolds said. â€œIn that heat I think the waves were better where the other guys were surfing, it was tough, but fun. Then walking up the beach seeing fans it was cool to sign autographs for some kids, it's never a chore, it's something special that surfing has given me. I'm always amped to give someone the time of day and stoke them out.â€
Joan Duru (France) scored an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) for a series of sharp and powerful backhand turns, taking the heat win in the process, while Blake Thronton (Maroubra, NSW/AUS) also advanced in second position. The pair of veteran surfers schooled their younger counterparts, Jano Belo (BRA) and Balaram Stack (USA), by using brute force power surfing.
â€œI had a really hard heat so I was a bit nervous this morning,â€ Duru said. â€œI just wanted to get some good waves at the start of the heat, I was lucky enough to get an 8.00 and that took the pressure off. There are some really fun rights and a couple of lefts, maybe head high or a little smaller, but the waves have power and are fun to surf. This event is really big and I hope I'm still going in the draw by the weekend!â€
Cahill Bell-Warren (Torquay, VIC/AUS), Victoria's highest ranked male surfer on the ASP Qualifying Series, has his eyes on the elite ASP World Championship Tour and is looking to post a big result here at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. In his opening heat this morning Bell-Warren was looking sharp, executing tight turns and fast carves.
â€œI paddled out in the dark this morning and all the waves were closing out, now the tide has come in the waves are super fun,â€ Bell-Waren said. â€œI got a really good wave right off the bat, got into rhythm right away and the other guys got stuck looking for waves. Once I had two good scores I was able to control the peak and if a good wave came through, I made sure I was on it. There's a lot riding on an event like this for me because there's not a lot of 6-Star events this year, so you really have to make the most of every heat.â€
Ryan Callinan (Merewether, NSW/AUS), one of Australia's most exciting up-and-coming young surfers opened his Hurley Australian Open of Surfing account with style today, posting excellent scores for some freakishly fast backhand vertical turns.
â€œI feel like this year is going to be a big year for me, so to get a heat win and some good scores feels great,â€ Callinan said. â€œI'm stoked to start the year in my home country and the next event is in my hometown, so I'm loving it. I missed out on being seeded into Round 2 by two spots and I saw the draw, it's full of great surfers, all the heats are hard. It's going to be a great event.â€
Oney Anwar (Indonesia) snuck through a tight heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing today in first position. Anwar and second placed Matt-Lewis Hewitt (NZL) both advanced, but third placed Marco Fernandez (BRA) narrowly missed out with the three surfers separated by less than one point.
â€œSometimes the hardest part of a contest is getting through the first heat,â€ Anwar said. â€œAfter the first one you have less nerves and you start to enjoy it more, so hopefully I can win a couple more. I saw this event two years ago, and it was my dream to be in it and now here I am and I won my first heat, it can't get any better than that.â€
Jack Freestone (Gold Coast, QLD/AUS) won his opening heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing despite having recently received four stitches in his foot. However, the injury didn't hamper him turning and boosting big airs all the way into the next round.
â€œIt was exciting to win that one because I was nervous about not being able to do much with my cut foot,â€ Freestone said. â€œI was surfing at D'Bah last week, did something stupid and my board flipped over and my fin cut me. There was no way I was going to miss this event, so I just taped it up, put on a boot and did my best out there. It would be really nice to start the year with a good result here, especially with an injury.â€
For more event information log on to www.AustralianOpenofSurfing.com
Competition will be broadcast LIVE on Fuel TV on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Australia.
About Hurley Australian Open of Surfing 2014 The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing 2014 is a nine-day event (Feb 8th-16th) which will showcase the world's best surfers, skateboarders, music and art at iconic Manly Beach, Sydney. Owned and produced by IMG Australia, the global youth and sporting event is expected to attract an audience of in excess of 175,000 people.
Inspired by the US Open of Surfing held in Huntington Beach, California, the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing boasts a line up of the top-rated 6-star men's and women's ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Qualifying Tour surf talent, men's and women's world junior star-athletes, and a world-class line-up of skateboarding talent.
The Channel [V] stage is back again this year also for two epic days of live music headlined by Aussie talents Birds of Tokyo and supported by ARIA urban award winner Illy, chart-topper The Presets and Melbournian rock outfit Delta Riggs.
Title Sponsor Hurley are joined this year by partners Nike SB and the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, and supported by Manly Council