The stage is set for the final day of competition at the 2018 Flight Centre Burleigh Pro QS1,000 after another busy day of action on Australia's Gold Coast.
Last year's Flight Centre Burleigh Pro event Champion Oney Anwar of Indonesia started where he left off at Burleigh taking out his opening heat. Anwar was on the ropes and under attack in second behind Byron Bay's Kyuss King until in the final seconds of the heat, the now Palm Beach resident threw a Hail Mary air-reverse to score an excellent 8.00 point ride and progress in the top spot.
"That was intense at the end of that heat," Anwar said. "I didn't know what position I was in and thought I might have been eliminated. When I found that last wave I knew I'd have to go big, and when the siren went I knew I had done enough. The swell is already on the rise so I'm pumped for tomorrow to see what we get."
Last year's Flight Centre Burleigh Pro runner-up, Kalani Ball, has his hopes set to go one spot better this year. Ball was almost too patient during his heat, only catching two waves, with the winning one coming in the last five minutes.
"It's good to be back here at Burleigh," Ball said. "That was my first heat for the season and I was really nervous, the sets were a bit slow and the competition was fierce so my heart rate was definitely up. I'm really pumped for this season and am definitely going for a top 10 finish in 2018, we'll see how I go."
NSW South Coast surfer Dean Bowen looked relaxed in his Round Three heat, as he sought to capitalize on years of experience surfing Burleigh Point. Bowen demonstrated a series of powerful backhand, hacking turns to see him claim one of the highest heat totals of the competition with a 9.25 back up by a 7.75 giving him a total two-wave combination score of 17.00.
"I started off sitting deeper than everyone else, then I got that good wide one from that bigger set," said Bowen "I've been coming to Burleigh Heads for 15 years now and I've had a lot of success here, I've been pretty lucky and I really enjoy the place so I keep coming back every year."
Sunshine Coast surfer and current Australian Under-18 Boys Champion Noah Stocca made a massive statement in his round three heat this morning and will now progress through to finals day heats. Needing at least an 8.35 to progress with just one minute remaining, Stocca locked into two waves on the wide bank and taking to the air was rewarded with a 7.75 and a 5.35, claiming second place over Burleigh Heads local Nick Callister. Stocca was elated to take the win after a wayward freesurfer caused a re-surf of his Round Two heat and almost cost him a spot in Round Three.
"I didn't really think I had a chance at that point in the heat, I was just trying to get a wave to show some of my surfing," Stocca said. "Yesterday was pretty wild, doing my first re-surf ever was something different. It was good getting to surf Burleigh with just one other guy out, that's insane and something you never do."
A special mention must go to Gold Coast duo Sheldon Simkus and Mitch Crews who both dominated their opening round heats. Simkus, who is fresh off an equal- fifth at Maroubra, posted a 17.50 heat total, the highest of the event so far. Former Championship Tour competitor Crews looked solid, posting a winning heat total of 15.40 even after spending half the night awake, scared that he would sleep through his alarm.
Women's Round Three and Four also ran, with Kobie Enright winning both rounds, to lock herself a spot into the Quarterfinals. Fresh off a win at the Carve Pro in Maroubra, Enright is carrying momentum into the season but is most motivated about the Final Day forecast.
"I'm definitely feeling confident after Maroubra," Enright said. "Making a few heats and winning an event has made me feel comfortable in my surfing. My biggest motivator to make the final day at this event has definitely been the forecast. It has been pushed back a bit but we could have some great waves tomorrow so I'm stoked that I'll be apart of it."