Dreamy conditions continued today for day two of the inaugural Sydney International Women's Pro at Cronulla as Round 2 of the Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 competition rolled out in playful three-foot waves. The event is the brainchild of current world No. 8 Sally Fitzgibbons who will be competing from Round 3.
Former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Claire Bevilacqua steamrolled through Round 2 competition today notching up a massive 15.90 heat total (out of a possible 20 points). Bevilacqua relied on an innovative repertoire of aerials and powerful manoeuvres to claim victory and cement a spot into the third round where she'll face off with fellow former CT surfer Pauline Ado, former World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols and Anali Gomez.
"You never know how your body will feel when you're in a heat or if you're going to feel nervous or not until you actually get to your feet. Fortunately I felt like I was at home out there," said Bevilacqua. "I knew I could take a few risks towards the tail end of the heat and thankfully the judges liked the air I did."
Brianna Cope's tactic of remaining busy paid dividends in Round 2 with the Hawaiian native taking a convincing win. Cope posted a respectable 12.66 heat total to leave her opposition requiring an excellent score to steal her lead.
"The first heat is always the most nerve-wracking," said Cope. "Fortunately the waves were fun for the heat and I was able to put a few decent scores on the board. For me personally, I'm not too focused on my result, I'm just trying to keep getting decent scores and take it as it comes."
Continuing on from yesterday's nail-biting performance, Sarah Baum nailed another final minute victory posting an excellent 8.83 wave score for a barrage of mammoth backside snaps. As a result of the aforementioned score, Baum - who currently resides one-hour south in Wollongong - jumped from third to first and eliminated warm Round 2 favourite Ellie-Jean Coffey from the event.
"I couldn't believe my luck when that wave popped up in the final minute," said Baum. "For me I just had to try and keep myself calm and take it turn-by-turn and not freak out. Ellie was hot on my tail in that heat but fortunately I was able to sell her a closeout and then my final wave popped up."
Tia Blanco , India Robinson, Lucy Callister and Brittani Nicholl all engaged in a fierce heat as all four surfers endeavored to book a spot into Round 3. In the battle that came down to the final seconds of the exchange, Blanco was able to avoid elimination on the strength of a 12.10 heat total. Blanco progressed through the heat alongside Robinson who finished in second spot.
"The forecast wasn't looking that good for this contest so to arrive at the beach and find clean rippable waves was a nice surprise," Blanco said. "I'm not in contention to qualify for the CT so I'm just here for experience. It will be awesome to surf in Round 3 amongst some of the biggest names in surfing, hopefully I can keep moving through heats."
Kobie Enright found several gems in the lineup, nailing a handful of impressive frontside snaps to lock in a spot into tomorrow's third round. In the hotly contested heat, Enright was able to gain the upper hand against Natsuki Suda, Sasha Baker and Holly-Sue Coffey.
Central Coast native Kirra-Belle Olsson continued to move through the event, sealing a Round 2 victory on the strength of a 12.53 heat total. Olsson caught both her scoring waves under priority and will face off with Chelsea Tuach , Dimity Stoyle and Meah Collins in Round 3 tomorrow.
"I came into this event with the goal of finishing in the quarters, but I'm just taking it heat-by-heat at the moment," said Olsson. "I got my best waves under priority because I was just trying to stay busy and I got through."