The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing ran through Round 5 in both the men's and women's World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series QS6000 divisions. Top seeds were taken down by rising stars in the fight for a coveted Quarterfinal appearance.
"I just tried to surf and enjoy myself - it's a great opportunity to be in the water with Mick Fanning," Hiquily said. "I don't know what to say, he's one of the best surfers in the world and I will always remember that heat."
Laura Enever (North Narrabeen, NSW/AUS) also caused an upset when she eliminated reigning six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Enever capitalized when it counted, executing two massive backhand blasts to net an 8.83 and a ticket into the Quarterfinals.
"I was lucky to find that one at the end that allowed me to do those two clean turns," Enever said. "Steph (Gilmore) only needed a 9 at the end and she's more than capable so I wasn't thinking about winning until the very end. Today was the most relaxed I've been all event and now I'm into the Quarterfinals so I'm pretty happy."
Ryan Callinan (Newcastle, NSW/AUS) eliminated No. 16 in the world Bede Durbidge (AUS) and in the process launched and landed the best aerial of the day. Callinan will now take on Brazil's Jesse Mendes in tomorrow's Quarterfinals.
"I haven't made the Quarters in a big event in a while," Callinan said. "It feels amazing to be getting big scores and I feel like I know what I need to do to win. This year I really wan to qualify for the Championship Tour - that's my goal. I haven't been doing many airs lately, but I had so much speed and there was a dreamy air section so I went for it."
Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA/USA) and Jack Freestone (AUS) went blow for blow in one of the most exciting heats of the event thus far. Both surfers locked in two excellent rides (8.00 or higher), for technical aerials and critical turns. But it was Andino who took the win by less than half a point.
"Jack's (Freestone) a really good surfer and I look up to him a lot," Andino said. "I knew I was going to have to be on my game to win that one. It's bad luck for him, to surf that good and still lose the heat. I'm glad to make it through to Finals day and hopefully it's my day tomorrow."
Bronte Macaulay (Margaret River, WA/AUS) is continuing to impress on this year's QS, with a fifth and second place finish already locked into her 2015 account. Today she knocked Johanne Defay (FRA) out of the event to secure a Quarterfinal matchup against Tyler Wright (AUS).
"I'm really happy right now!" Macaulay said. "It feels great to be through to the Quarters because it's probably the hardest QS field I've ever seen. I'm just really enjoying my surfing at the moment and when you're having fun the results can go your way."
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