The Scoot Burleigh Pro presented by Vissla got off to a flying start at Burleigh Heads, completing the Round of 96 and half of the Round of 48 of the Qualifying Series QS1000 rated event. The women had the day off as a crop of the world's best male surfers battled their way down the famed long right hand point break.
Nathan Hedge (AUS) is a seasoned veteran on the QS and put his experience and deadly backhand attack on display at the Scoot Burleigh Pro. Hedge snared a long Burleigh runner and proceeded to blast solid turns all the way down the line to secure an 8.90 and a opening Round heat win.
â€œIt's always good to win your first QS heat of the year!â€ Hedge said. â€œI got a good score too so that's always good for the confidence. A quality wave like Burleigh gets everyone wanting to compete from teenager to World Championship Tour surfers, but I'm just focused on me. I'm not really worried about the other competitors and the rankings points on offer â€” it's all just about my performance and getting some heats under my belt.â€
Australian young guns Kai Hing, Mitch Parkinson and Quinn Bruce put on a show in Heat 2 of the Round of 48. All three surfers locked in excellent scores, going for broke in front of a solid crowd on Burleigh Headland. Only two surfers could progress in the exciting battle of the up-and-comers and it was Bruce and Parkinson who clocked up enough points to advance, eliminating Hing and 4th place Kai Awada (JPN).
â€œThat was a pretty hard heat for Round 2,â€ Parkinson said. â€œKai (Hing) and Quinn (Bruce) were going mad, everyone had big scores. I love those heats, it was exciting â€” I didn't want it to end. It's a bit windy now, but if you get the second or third wave of the set it's clean and you can rattle off six or seven turns.â€
Stu Kennedy (AUS) top scored his opening heat at the Scoot Burleigh Pro with a clean and crisp air-reverse combined with a few sharp turns. Sunshine Coast surfer Dale Lovelock also advanced in second position with Jared McHale (AUS) and Max Longhurst (AUS) eliminated in 3rd and 4th place.
â€œI'm excited about this year and to start with a heat win at Burleigh feels great,â€ said Kennedy. â€œI have financial support from new sponsors through Carve and Firewire, which takes pressure off and allows me of focus on just surfing. Burleigh is a favorite wave of mine and just an hour from home and it's good to get back to work!â€
Wade Carmichael is also focusing his eyes on the elite World Championship Tour this season and looked extremely fit after two excellent 8-point-plus wave scores and an easy heat win.
â€œI love the waves on the Gold Coast and I'm ready for a big year,â€ Carmichael said. â€œNothing short of qualifying for the CT will satisfy me this season and surfing here is all about fine tuning my form and equipment and it felt right during that heat.â€
Adam Melling (AUS), Scoot Burleigh Pro No. 1 seed and the only Championship Tour surfer in the men's draw struggled in the afternoon onshore conditions, but found form late in the heat to advance in 2nd place behind event wildcard Tim Macdonald (AUS).
â€œIt feels really good to get a win over one of the big guys,â€ Macdonald said. â€œI was driving home from work the other day and was really bummed that I wasn't in the event, then I heard that WSL had given me a Wildcard and I was so stoked. I love this event, even in the afternoon wind I love this wave.â€
The 2014 Scoot Burleigh Pro Present by Vissla is proudly supported by, World Surf League, Surfing Queensland, Tourism and Events Queensland, Australia's Gold Coast, Telstra Store Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Airport, Queensland Government, World Surfaris, Health Insurance Fund, Breaka Flavoured Milk, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, Coastalwatch Plus, D'Blanc, Bruce Lynton Land Rover and Surfing Life Magazine.