After an unlucky run with wave quality at recent Australian WSL Qualifying Series events, competitors at the 2017 Komunity Project Great Lakes Pro presented by Rockstar were thrilled with what they found on Day 1. The pristine Boomerang Beach was offering up clean, 3-foot A-frame peaks, which made for some fantastic high-performance surfing.
Japanese competitor Yuri Ogasawara left his run for the lead until the last wave of his heat. Ogasawara was in third position and in desperate need of a score to progress into Round Three. The smooth naturalfooter took off on righthander with seconds left and performed three big wrapping cutbacks to post a 6.20 (out of a possible 10) and move from third to first.
"That was a nervous heat for me," Ogasawara said. "I was waiting and waiting to get a wave and wasn't sure what position I was in. At the end I finally heard that I was in third and was freaked out. I then got that wave at the end and knew I was going to have to do something good. Luckily the wave was a good one and I got the score.
Australian surfer Thomas Cervi is new to the QS. In his first-ever event at Cabarita he finished an impressive equal 5th. The young Noosa local has made the trip to Pacific Palms for his second event and continued his roll taking out his heat in the dying seconds. Cervi's lightning-fast forehand attack earned him a heat total of 13.70 to progress into Round Three.
"This is only my second event and I'm feeling really good," Cervi said. "It's been pretty bad at home recently for waves so I'm just stoked to be down here and getting some fun surf. A lot of these guys have competed way more than me but I'm confident in my surfing and just back myself."
Gold Coaster Maddy Job got his Round Two heat off to a great start, posting an excellent 8-point ride on his opening wave. His aggression and commitment toward the lip was impressive and rewarded by the judges. Job looked as if he was enjoying his first trip to Boomerang Beach.
"I'm so stoked I came to this event," Job said. I have never been here before and the waves are so good. I haven't had this much fun surfing in way too long. I just want to keep making heats so I can keep surfing out here, it's sick."
A trend on Day 1 of Boomerang was the surfers' struggle with the small, scrappy summer waves. Central Coaster Jamie Skillin found a positive in the lack of waves, believing that it sharpened his surfing. Indeed, the powerhouse gouged his way into Round Three. It was by the skin of his teeth though, as he posted his winning score in the dying seconds.
"I have some good boards at the moment so I knew I could get a decent score in the right wave," Skillin said. "I have been surfing a lot in the small junky waves and I think it has helped my surfing. The waves here today are great and so much easier to surf than the junk I have been getting, so I'm stoked."
Young Byron Bay prodigy Kyuss King posted a solid heat total of 14.75 in his Round Two heat, which was highest of the entire Round. The young naturalfooter put on a great display of backhand surfing.
"The last few comps have been a bit of a struggle for waves," King said. "To get down here and get some proper waves is so good. It looks like we will have a bit of swell on the way as well so I'm pumped. Boomerang and its surrounds would have to be one of my favourite places to come there is just so many sick set ups around."