The 2017 WSL Girls Make Your Move Women's Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 event has kicked off in punchy 3-to-4 foot waves at Manly on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The event runs as part of the Australian Open of Surfing which also hosts a Men's QS6,000 division.
Sunshine Coaster Dimity Stoyle didn't have the best time in Manly last year, getting eliminated in the early rounds of the event. The former Championship tour (CT) competitor has returned in 2017 and got her campaign off to an impressive start. Stoyle found a few long right-handers and went to town, posting an excellent single wave sore of 9.00 (out of a possible 10) to go towards her heat total of 15.93 (out of a possible 20), both scores being the highest of the event so far.
"l've got a pretty low seed in this event so I'm really fired up to make lots of heat," Stoyle said. "My goal is to make it to finals day so I'm off to a good start. Last year I had a shocker at this event and was knocked out in my first heat to kick it off with a solid heat like that is great. The waves are messy today but really fun and have a lot of push. These types of conditions really suit me."
Kobie Enright faced every surfer's worst nightmare of being eliminated with an excellent single wave score on the board. Enright charged out of the gates on her backhand posting an excellent 8.50 in the opening minutes of Heat Three. She then waited for another decent set wave that never seemed to materialize while she sat in last place. Enright then began to scramble, eventually finding an average score that was enough to put her into first place and win the heat.
"I was freaking out towards the end of that heat," Enright said. "I just wanted to make sure that I was on the best waves of the heat, which in the end I was. It was super stressful when all of a sudden the clock was winding down so I was stoked to eventually get the score and make the heat."
After watching fellow Kiwi Paige Hareb finish runner-up at the recent Anditi Women's Pro QS6,000, Ella Williams felt inspired as she headed out in Heat Six of Round Two. Williams thrived in the punchy conditions throwing huge fans of spray with her powerful forehand to post an excellent 8.17 and 6.17 to progress into Round Three.
"I look up to Paige a lot and seeing her in the final yesterday was great motivation for me," Williams said. "I've had a few early loses recently so It's good to find inspiration in others. This is pretty easy with all the talent around at this contest. I'm just stoked to make my heat and surf again because the waves are really fun."
After moving from Florida to coastal south Orange County, California to focus on her surfing, Caroline Marks has noticed an improvement in her approach to competition. Marks displayed this improvement at Manly today taking out her Round two heat easily with a mid-range heat total of 13.77. The 15-year-old natural footer also attributes her success to working with former CT star turn super coach Mike ‘Snips' Parsons.
"It's great to have heats where there are lots of waves and plenty of opportunity for everyone," Marks said. "I've been working closely with Mike Parsons which has been a great help. He has been awesome at showing me new waves since I moved to California and going over strategies for heats - it's been really fun. I'm only 15 so making heats is more of a leaning experience for me than anything else. I just love competing and surfing, it's my favourite thing to do."
Portugal's Teresa Bonvelot may only be 18-years of age but she has been travelling to compete in Australia for years now. Bonvalot, on her third time to the Australian Open of Surfing and looked comfortable on her way to taking a heat win and progressing to Round Three to guarantee an event best finish.
"I have been coming to Australia for years now," Bonvalot said. "I love coming here at this time of year to escape the European winter. I feel good at the moment and made a few heats at the Andti Women's Pro in Newcastle but I'd like to go further at this event."