Event one of the Australasian leg of the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), the Carve Pro got underway this morning in stormy but improving three to four foot surf at Maroubra beach. Competitors made the most of the conditions on offer with men's Round 1 and 2 completed and the women getting through to Round 2.
India Robinson (AUS), 15, put on a dominant display in her Round 1 heat, posting the Round's highest heat total, a 14.25 (out of a possible 20). Robinson surfed with composure well above her age in what was an extremely impressive performance for her first ever QS appearance.
"This is my first QS so I was really nervous," Robinson said. "I tried to stay calm and pick the best waves. My next heat is going to be a tough one, but I want to try and get through a few more heats and build my points."
Round 2 of men's division started with a bang in Heat 1 with Sydney sider Jordan Lawler posting two excellent scores an 8.00 and 8.50 (out of a possible 10) for his heat total of 16.50. Lawler used the strong cross-shore winds to his advantage, pulling multiple air reverses to post the highest heat total of Men's Round 2.
"I haven't competed in an event since the 2015 Australian Open, so I really just wanted to get back into the groove of things and have fun," said Jordy. "I didn't feel like competing too much last year and wasn't prepared to make the sacrifices required to give it a decent crack, so I opted to focus on trips and getting shots instead. Now, following that break I feel ready to get stuck into 2016 and that heat has got me feeling pretty fresh and ready to have a decent go at it all."
Heat 4 of Round 2 was a close affair with only 3.85 points dividing 1st and 4th. In what is his first time in Australia, Made Darma Yasa (IND) displayed some incredible rail surfing to come out on top and move through to Round 3 of his first QS even outside of Bali.
"I just tried to pretend it was a free surf," Darma Yasa said. "I just stayed calm and looked for the good waves, luckily I got some good ones and got the scores I needed. I'm loving my time in Australia, it's is so beautiful here, I'm glad I can surf another heat."
Former World Championship Tour surfer and local Blake Thornton (AUS) used a combination of seasoned tactics and local knowledge to overcome his opposition in Round 2. Despite not having competed in several years, Thornton managed to notch up a respectable 14.15 heat total to book his spot into tomorrow's Round 3.
"I feel like a bit of a grommet again," said Thornton. "I think most of the guys I shared that heat with were under 20 and as old as I am, I think my age and experience may have given me the upper hand. It's always a thrill to compete at home and I honestly miss the buzz of competition at this level, so I'll see how I go in this event and that may determine the rest of my year."