The wait for a solid east swell has continued on Day 2 of the Flight Centre Burleigh Pro with small conditions plaguing one of the world's most iconic point breaks. The tough conditions didn't detract from the action with some solid performances going down in men's and women's Round Two in front of the massive Australia Day weekend crowds.
The opening round of the women's division saw some solid scores posted, despite the tricky conditions. A closely fought battle between Japan's Sara Wakita and Gold Coast local Eden Putland saw the two go blow-for-blow in Heat 5, exchanging waves in the excellent range. Wakita looked very comfortable despite the small conditions and was a standout of the round with a near perfect 9.00 to back up an 8.75.
"I went out there with a plan to just sit deep at first then once I actually got a wave I tried to stay more in the pocket," Wakita said. "I got knocked out early in the first QS in Sydney, so I definitely gained some confidence in that heat with those two nines."
Hailing from just down the road in Coolangatta, Pacha Luque-Light has been looking forward to surfing a QS event on home territory. She got her campaign off to a great start by winning her opening heat with a total of 10.50.
"Apart from a couple of swells the waves have been like this for a while now so I'm feeling pretty comfortable," Luque-Light said. "I just tried to stay super light on my feet and went out there with a positive attitude and it seemed to work for me. This is such an important headland on the Gold Coast; it was the first Indigenous reserve so to surf here is really special. It's a very powerful and magical part of the world. If we get the waves we are supposed to this weekend it will be an amazing event."
Another Queenslander who is no stranger to small-wave surfing is Sasha Baker who took out her Round One heat in tough conditions. In one of the slower heats of Day 2, Baker was able to find a couple of mediocre waves and surf them to their full potential to progress into Round Two.
"It was really slow out there," Baker said. "Everyone is in the same boat so you can't be too down about it. Along with points and prize money, making heats means getting closer to getting to surf a heat during this swell on the weekend which would be awesome."
Burleigh ripper Hinata Aizawa put his local experience to the test, finding a couple of gems to take out his Round Two Heat. The powerful goofyfoot moves a step closer to surfing great waves at his local spot without the extreme crowds.
"I surf waves like this here all the time so I felt super prepared," Aizawa said. "the sand is good at the moment so if this swell does eventually come we will get some really fun waves. Surfing any of the Gold Coast points when there is no one out is amazing so I hope to keep making heats."
Newcastle upstart Morgan Cibilic has a great relationship with the Gold Coast having won his first WSL event here less than a year ago. He started where he left off progressing into Round Three in second place with Kenta Ishikawa taking the top spot.
"It's so good to be back here again on the Gold Coast, the weather is perfect and the water is beautiful," Cibilic said. "The forecast looks like it's going to be fun over the weekend. It would be sweet to have another event with good waves so I'm hoping for that perfect Burleigh Point and maybe even a few barrels."
Another Gold Coaster who made light work of his Round Two heat was Tugun's Max Kearney. The silky-smooth goofyfooter looked in tune with the small waves and easily progressed through his heat with a heat total of 11.00.
"I had fourth priority for a while so I just tried to stay busy," Kearney said. "I snagged a couple and got a five and a six. It was a tough heat but it's good to move on. Whenever Burleigh's really good on a cyclone swell I always come here and surf it. The wide bank starts to barrel when it's big so fingers crossed that on Sunday we will see the swell pick up."