The fourth day of action of the Mothernest Tweed Coast Pro saw a change in location as contest officials made the call to move from Kingscliff to Cabarita. That call paid dividends as competitors were treated to clean and pristine, four- to five-foot peelers. The big day saw plenty of action and plenty of rain as two Rounds of the men's division and one round of the women's were run and won, locking in the draw for Finals day tomorrow.
Reigning event champion Ty Watson put on a jaw-dropping performance in his Round Five heat win at Cabarita today. The NSW South Coaster unleashed what was easily the best turn of the event so far, laying back into a wild snap, but he stayed in control and was able to rattle off another four solid turns down the line, netting a 9.25 for his efforts. He then backed that up with a 9.35 to amass the highest two-wave heat total of the event thus far.
"It's just about as good as a beachbreak gets out there," Watson said. "These are perfect conditions for an event. It's pretty crazy that we were here last year and it was really hot and the surf was small and mushy, and now it's cold but the surf is pumping. There's always a bit of pressure being reigning champion, but I just want to go out and surf and get some good waves."
Gold Coast pair Kobie Enright and Ellie Brooks both advanced to the Quarterfinals after securing first and second in their Round Four bout at the Mothernest Tweed Coast Pro this morning. Brooks scored a 7.00 and a 5.10 as her only two waves, but it was enough to see her take 2nd position. Brooks will take on Elizabeth Stokely when competition resumes tomorrow.
"I wasn't sure if moving from Kingscliff was a great idea because we had great waves over there," Brooks said. "But after that heat, I can say it was the right call. It's pumping out there! Although, I am getting tired of that sweep, I feel like an Iron Man because I keep having to run up the beach. I'm excited for tomorrow, can't wait to get out there again for my Quarterfinal."
Sophie McCulloch notched an impressive Round 4 heat win to book a Quarterfinal berth against Victoria's India Robinson. McCulloch surfed with speed and power, catching both lefts and rights, finishing the heat with two 8-point-rides in her tally.
"That's probably the best waves I've had in a contest," McCulloch said. "It was so much fun out there. I wish I had more time in the water. It felt really nice to get a couple of 8-point-rides. It's good for my confidence going into the Quarters, but you need to keep improving with every heat, so hopefully I can get some 9s in the next one."
Chris Zaffis locked in a 8.50 for a combination of solid snaps and carves as he claimed an easy heat win and chance to surf on Finals day. The up-and-coming Australian will be one to watch on tomorrow as he's won a QS1,000 in pumping surf in past.
"I was nervous about how good it was, my legs were shaking because I didn't want to blow any waves," Zaffis said. "It's so glassy it was hard to make out the contours of the wave, it's a pretty good problem to have. It's a beachbreak, but it feels like a point, I was getting four or five turns on every wave. I'm so stoked to make it to finals day and I hope conditions are like this again tomorrow."
Jackson Baker nailed two near-perfect 9-point-plus-rides today, attacking sections with power and unloading explosive turns seemly with ease. Baker is looking for a big result to start the year with a roll as he aims to climb up the QS rankings.
"Two heats and two 9-point-rides in pumping surf -- it's been a good day," Baker said. "I didn't have any expectations today, I knew the waves were good, but I didn't want to overthink it -- so I said I might drive home this afternoon. I guess I'm not driving home now, but maybe I should try that strategy before every heat."