Men's Quarterfinalists and Women's Semifinalists have been decided after a marathon day of surfing at the World Surf League (WSL) Cape Naturaliste Pro QS1,000 today in Yallingup.
20 heats were run and won in a gruelling day that tested competitor's strength and endurance. Thumping 4-6 feet surf provided ample scoring opportunity and brought some standout performances and surprise upsets on exciting second day of competition at Main Break, one of WA's most iconic surf locations.
Chris Zaffis (Angourie, AUS) dominated the early morning conditions and booked his spot into the Quarterfinals on the strength of some impressive and innovative forehand rail-work. Zaffis dropped a two-wave combined total of 15.50 (from a possible 20) and will take on Mandurah Pro champion Morgan Cibilic (Merewether, AUS) in the man-on-man Quarterfinals when competition continues.
"The last time I surfed here in Yallingup was for an Aussie Junior Titles in 2014," said Zaffis. "It's actually really fun out there, I'm stoked to have found a couple of gems and get and some good scores."
WA's Under-18 Junior State Champion Ben Gradisen (Gracetown, WA) put in a massive performance in his maiden WSL QS event, reaching the Quarterfinals after winning a loaded Round 3 heat. Gradisen surfed with a maturity beyond his years to win a heat that hat saw event favourite Jack Robinson (Margaret River, AUS) bow out in the final seconds at the hands of a buzzer beater wave to Yallingup's Zak Ogram.
"It's amazing to get surf like this for my first QS event," said Gradisen. "That was a crazy heat - it was tough to hear the scores out there and no one really knew what was happening. I'm so stoked to be into the Quarters."
The top seed of the event, Jacob Willcox (Margaret River, AUS) will be out to better his 3rd place finish at the Mandurah Pro last week and moves into the Quarterfinals on the strength of his razor sharp backhand surfing.
Sheldon Simkus (Gold Coast, AUS), Liam O'Brien (Burleigh Heads, AUS) and Samson Coluter (Manly, AUS) make up the final eight surfers remaining in the Men's event.
Claire Bevilacqua (ITA) will take on Mia McCarthy (Cowaramup, AUS) in the fist of the Women's Semifinals.
Bevilacqua who resides in Yallingup, drew upon her years of experience at Main Break defeating Mandurah Pro Champion Sophie Fletcher on her way to the Semi's.
"I've travelled the world competing, but to be here at Yallingup surfing in front of my friends and family is something really special and it's like nothing I've never experienced before," said Bevilacqua.
Alyssa Lock (Gold Coast, AUS) will square up against WA rising star Coral Durant (Red Bluff, AUS) in Women's Semifinal two.
Lock used her backhand to slice and dice her way past Bailee Hastie (Gracetown, AUS) and is thrilled to be in Western Australia competing in the first event WA Pro Surf Series.
"I love it here in WA and Yallingup is such an amazing location for an event like this," said Lock. "I'm from the Gold Coast, so I feel really comfortable on rights which is what's is on offer out there."
The Cape Naturaliste Pro is the second event of the Western Australian Pro Surf Series. Testing conditions are forecast for the remainder of the event with only ten heats remaining before the inaugural Cape Naturaliste Pro champions are crowned.
Event officials will reconvene tomorrow for a call from 7am with signs pointing towards a possible finish on Sunday with a large groundswell set to hit the South-West coastline of WA.