MANLY BEACH, NSW/AUS (Tuesday, 11th February, 2014) - Despite smaller surf today, the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing was able to charge through half of Round 2 of the men's and Round 1 of the women's ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series divisions. Competition was fierce as this is the first ASP 6-Star event of the year and precious ranking's points and prize-money are on the line.
Julian Wilson (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS), Hurley Australian Open of Surfing's No. 1 seed after he finished 6th on the ASP World Championship Tour last year, started the day with an impressive win in the difficult conditions. Wilson scored an 8.50 (out of a possible 10) for two explosive backhand turns and advanced into the Round of 48, with last year's ASP Australasia Pro Junior champion Jake Sylvester (Newcastle, NSW/AUS) also advancing in 2nd position.
"It's tricky out there this morning," Wilson said. "I wanted to go left, it's easier to go backside when it's small. That 8.50 was easily the best wave that came through during the heat, it was only two manoeuvres, but you have to make the most of the opportunities out there. I'm ready for a big year, my equipment feels good and I'm feeling healthy. I just want to keep the momentum that I had through the end of last year."
Nikki Viesins (USA) posted the highest single wave score of the women's event today, earning a near-perfect 9.50 (out of a possible 10). This is Viesins first time in Australia and she's making the most of the Florida-like conditions.
"I come from Florida where the surf is small most of the year so I felt really comfortable in those conditions," Viesins said. "I'm really excited to be here, this is my first time in Australia. It's really beautiful here, this event is super cool and I'm loving it. I saw the Opera House, I went on a ferry and I've been enjoying the surf."
Yadin Nicol (Yallingup, WA/AUS), snuck through a tricky heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing this morning, catching a wave that saw him jump from 3rd to 2nd place in the last 45 seconds of the 25 minute heat. In the process Nicol eliminated local Manly surfer Nick Butler (Manly, NSW/AUS) who got bumped out of 2nd place in front of an adoring hometown crowd.
"Nothing was going right for me at all out there," Nicol said. "It was slow and I should have probably tried to catch more waves at the start of that heat. Everytime Nick (Butler) stood up the whole beach was screaming, it's a bummer for him to lose like that."
Oney Anwar (Indonesia) equaled the event's highest single wave score when he posted a monster 9.50 (out of a possible 10) in his Round of 96 heat win today. Anwar was on fire, excelling in the conditions that saw other surfers struggle, finishing the heat with the second highest two wave heat-total of the event thus far 16.77 out of a possible 20.
"I knew that surfing against the WCT guys like Adam Melling was going to be hard," Anwar said. "It was a good chance for me to give it my best and see how I go against those guys. The waves were tough, but still super fun, my board went amazing out there. Getting a 9 gave me so much confidence."
Heitor Alves (Brazil) lit up Manly Beach at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing today, posting two scores in the 8-point-range to easily win his heat and advance into the next round. Alves is one of the most experienced surfers in the draw and is looking for a big start to the year to help him re-claim a spot on the elite ASP World Championship Tour.
"I'm trying to stay relaxed and focused because the waves are hard, I just waited for the best ones and I made it," Alves said. "Last year was a bad year for me because I didn't get many good results, but now I'm ready and focused and feeling good. It's great to be at a big event like this, I love the US Open, and this is the same. Thanks to everyone for watching and for all the support."
Filipe Toledo (Brazil) lived up to the hype today, blowing away his competitors and putting on a spectacular display for the fans. Toledo carved, turned and threw his tail around, relishing the small but punchy surf at Manly Beach today.
"This is a really fun beachbreak," Toledo said. "There are a lot of Brazilians in this contest, it's great to all be together to support and cheer for each other. This is a great contest and I'm really hoping to go far."
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