The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach received a slight bump in swell today with clean and crisp two-to-three foot (1.5 meter) waves on offer, alongside moderate showers for the surfers to navigate as the event whittled the field down to the eight remaining Quarterfinalists.
The Sunshine Coasts's Julian Wilson, the event's Surfing No. 1 seed, continues to build momentum and storm ominously through the draw. This morning, Wilson posted a impressive Round 4 heat win and then went bigger and better in Round 5 to eliminate 2012 event runner-up Evan Geiselman, posting the highest two-wave heat-total of the event thus far - 18.27 out of a possible 20.
"I'm here because I want to win," Wilson said. "I want to start winning events. I had a really consistent back half of last year, but didn't get a win and I just want to get that ball rolling early this year. It takes a few years of travelling on the ASP World Tour to get comfortable with everything like boards, where to stay and the rest. It's really hard to get on there and start winning right away. I'm coming into my fourth year now and I feel a lot more comfortable about what I need to do to be ready for every event."
He will take on young gun Brazilian Peterson Crisanto in tomorrow's Quarterfinals.
Jeremy Flores defeated Heitor Alves to secure a spot in the Quarterfinals. The majority of the heat the pair were evenly matched, holding onto a couple of mid-range scores as the clock was winding down, Flores found a keeper posting an 8.20 (out of a possible 10) for a series of ferocious turns and an air. Flores took the heat and will now face off against Tomas Hermes (BRA) when competitions resumes tomorrow.
"These are the best waves I've had since I got here," Flores said. "It's still not pumping, but it's so much better than yesterday so everyone is really excited. I'm really happy to be into the Quarterfinals, lately I haven't been at my best in these sort of small waves, so to make some heats at this event is good for my confidence. Manly has been really fun, with the music, the skating, the pro junior surfing, it's sick! I like the vibe here."
Hawaiian Fredrick Patacchia is proving to be one of the form surfers at this year's Hurley Australian Open of Surfing, posting big scores and unloading monster turns. Patacchia booked a spot in the Quarterfinals after eliminating fellow Hawaiian Joshua Moniz (HAW) in Round 5 this morning.
"Josh has been surfing great all event, he's definitely one of our up-and-coming Hawaiians that I'd love to see on the WCT one day," Patacchia said. "It's always a bummer to come up against a fellow Hawaiian, but it happens all the time at these events and you just have to get used to it. I used to have to surf against Bruce and Andy Irons all the time when I was coming up, it helps you to learn to go for the jugular no matter who's in your heat."
Adriano De Souza (BRA) couldn't put a foot wrong at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing today, eliminating Billy Stairmand (NZL) in Round 4, and Mitch Coleborn (AUS) in Round 5. De Souza posted excellent scores seemingly with ease, throwing tail, burying rail and landing big aerials all morning. De Souza will now take on Patacchia in Quarterfinal 3 tomorrow morning.
"I've had a lot of hard heats, but I'm just surfing and doing my thing and it's working," De Souza said. "Conditions are hard, but I just have to trust myself and my skills. Tomorrow will be hard, I've got a veteran Freddy (Patacchia), hopefully I can keep going in this event."
Patrick Gudauskas and Bede Durbidge were both on fire in the last two heats of the day, schooling their younger counterparts and booking spots in the Quarterfinals where they will match-up against each other.
The event will be webcast LIVE on www.AustralianOpenofSurfing.com
Competition will be broadcast LIVE on Fuel TV on Saturday and Sunday in Australia.