Another mammoth day of action at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro narrowed the field down as the Qualifying Series 6,000 event is moving quickly toward the pointy end. Manly Beach continued to provide competitors with great waves as all eyes look towards what will no doubt be an epic weekend of surf action.
Fresh off a recent win at the Burton Automotive Pro, you would think Mikey Wright may be feeling overly confident as he goes through the rounds of the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro. Well, turns out his current approach of forgetting about previous results and attacking what is in front of him is clearly paying dividends. Today he took out his Round Four exchange against young dynamo Reef Heazlewood and Mateus Herdy. Mikey nailed a chain of exciting backside snaps to notch up a decent 15.66 two-wave heat total to get the upper hand against Reef who advanced in second position.
"The waves were really fun out there even with the higher tide," he said. "I don't feel overly confident off those recent wins, I'm just focusing on what is in front of me and forgetting about the day before. Ever since I was little, I've tried to just take every heat as a new thing."
A stacked heat with former and current CT surfers Keanu Asing, Wiggolly Dantas and Griffin Colapinto went hell-for-leather as they looked to cement themselves a position into the fifth round. Keanu's game plan of sitting wide for the beginning of the heat proved to be a smart tactical move as he put a handful of above average scores on the board. The Hawaiian executed a flurry of impressive backside snaps to finish the heat with a 13.60 total and take the heat from Wiggolly and Griffin who finished in second and third respectively.
"I wanted to get a quick start and post two quick scores before locking in something substantial," he said. "The other guys were down the beach, so I figured I'd get a score on the board and then go and play the priority game. I knew I had to be smarter and make sure I was on the better waves. When you're surfing against guys who are as good as Griffin and Wiggolly, you really need to make sure you give it everything you've got."
After taking out the Volcom Pipe Pro QS 3,000 earlier this year, Hawaii's Joshua Moniz was set up for a stellar 2018 season. That was until he suffered from a staph infection and had to pull out of the first 6,000 event at Newcastle. After making a quicker than expected recovery, Josh jumped on a flight and prepared for the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro. The last minute call to come to Manly paid off in his Round Four match-up as he took a dying seconds win over former CT competitors Stuart Kennedy and Matt Banting. It was a nail biting heat with only 0.16 points separating the three surfers.
"I feel like I had some good momentum leading into Newcastle then had to pull out," he said. "I was prepared to miss both of the events and then recovered a little quicker than I was supposed to so got on a plane and came to Sydney and it feels good to have the ball rolling again. Although this is a super different event to the one at Pipe for waves, the preparation is the same so I was confident that I'd be ready for anything."
Former World Junior Champion Macy Callaghan came bursting out of the gates in her Round Four match-up with Hawaiian duo Tatiana Weston-Webb and Zoe McDougall. Macy posted her winning heat total of 14.57 on her first two rides leaving Zoe and Tatiana to duel it out for the second progressing spot. After missing out on qualifying for the Championship Tour in 2017 by one spot, Macy is keen to go one step further this year, and she is off to a good start with a Round Five berth at the Vissla Sydney Women's Surf Pro.
"I was pretty devastated after missing out last year," she said. "It was hard to take but it was an awesome learning experience. This year I feel a lot more confident in myself and my surfing which definitely helps when surfing heats at this level. I'm really excited about the year ahead and am really keen for a big result here at Manly."
Known for her prowess in punchy surf, Northern Beaches native Holly Wawn showed she was more than capable of dominating in small conditions as well, winning her Round Four heat. Holly posted two excellent scores to amass a 17.84 heat total and take victory over current CT surfer and event top seed Nikki Van Dijk. The recent winner of the Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres by D'Blanc at Boomerang, Holly attributed her current form to the support of her family and ignoring the hype surrounding her fellow competitors.
"It's really cool competing here and having a bunch of friends and family at the beach cheering me on," she said. "It really does spur you on having that kind of support. I'm aware that these girls have competed at the top level and are going to be tough to beat but I know what I'm capable of. I just focus on getting two good waves, and today I did that so I'm stoked."