- WSL / Ethan Smith
- WSL / Ethan Smith

Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres by D'Blanc is off to a flying start with men's and women's Round One taking place in punchy three-foot waves at South Boomerang Beach. With glassy conditions on offer, some competitors were slightly more eager to get out there than others.

Mitch Crews winning Heat 2 of Round 1 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Mitch Crews with a display of pure skill and luck. - WSL / Ethan Smith

"I forgot to screw my fins in before that heat," said Mitch Crews who, excited by the potential for decent sections, missed a vital step in his pre-heat preparations. "Thankfully they held in place until the final wave of the heat."

Despite the fact that his fins could have fallen out of his board at anytime, the former CT competitor executed a barrage of mammoth turns to post two excellent wave scores in excess of eight-points. This put his fellow competitors into a combination situation, leaving Crews out in front. His fins finally gave way in the dying moments of the heat, when it was revealed that only one side was screwed in.

"It wasn't until the final wave that I felt it fall out of my board, maybe I have a little luck on my side," said Crews. "I did a lot of the QS 1,000 rated events this year so that I could have fun competing and gain momentum for the 6,000 rated events that are coming up shortly,"

Mitch Crews winning Heat 2 of Round 1 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. So that's why that last turn felt so loose. - WSL / Ethan Smith

2017 Vissla Great Lakes Pro runner-up and top-seed Philippa Anderson made her intentions clear when she attacked her round one heat. Anderson remained patient over the duration of the affair, locking in a 6.50 wave score early and then opted to sit with priority for the next 15 minutes until she was able to earn a modest 5.00 wave to gain the upper hand against her opposition.

"I think I may have sat off the peak a little bit over the middle of that heat," said Anderson. "I just tried to remain calm over the course of the heat as the clock counted down. If you let your nerves get to you in those situations, then it can all fall apart. I'm just stoked to be here, it's a lovely day and the waves are fun."

Philippa Anderson winning Heat 1 of Round 1 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Philippa Anderson kicking her 2018 season off with a heat win at Boomerang. - WSL / Ethan Smith

Having spent the last five weeks in Australia following the World Junior Championship, Alyssa Spencer used her knowledge of Australian beach-break conditions to her advantage and took a convincing win in her opening heat. Spencer nailed a chain of backside turns and snaps to post an impressive 13.85 two-wave heat total and cement her spot in the second round.

"It was really fun out there. It was tricky but if you found them, it was good, I did definitely get flogged on a few," said Spencer. "This is my first time to Boomerang and the place is beautiful. I'm loving it here, the beach-breaks are really fun, so hopefully I can keep getting through a few more heats."

Alyssa Spencer winning Heat 4 of Round 1 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Alyssa Spencer is certainly settling into life down under at this her sixth event in the last month. - WSL / Ethan Smith
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