NewsVissla Great Lakes Pro pres by D'BlancHiroto Ohhara

Top Seeds Turn Boomerang Beach into a Skate Park

The Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres by D'Blanc shifted to North Boomerang Beach for day three of competition, where competitors were greeted with exciting two-foot shorebreak ramps, turning the QS 1,000 into an air show, of sorts.

Matt Banting progressed through Heat 8 of Round 3 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Matt Banting making his return to competition. WSL / Ethan Smith

Recent Mothernest Tweed Coast Pro Champion Jackson Baker continued to build on his WSL Qualifying Series campaign, nailing a solid victory in his Round Three heat today. Baker performed an eclectic mix of snaps and aerials to post an excellent 16.50 two-wave heat total to post a spot in the fourth round.

"I really want to back up the result at Cabarita with a good finish here," said Baker. "I've spent quite a bit of time up here freesurfing and shooting photos and I really love the area. With any luck, we'll see a little spike in swell tomorrow and Sunday for the Finals."

Jackson Baker winning Heat 4 of Round 3 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Jackson Baker is fresh off a win at the Mothernest Tweed Coast Pro and is keen to keep the role on. WSL / Ethan Smith

Former US Open of Surfing Champion Hiroto Ohhara and former World Championship Tour surfer Matt Banting engaged in one of the most exciting heats seen over the duration of the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series so far. In what was the first heat of the year for both surfers, both Banting and Ohhara went toe-to-toe over the course of the heat with the lead pin-balling back-and-forth between both surfers.

However, Ohhara was able to gain the upper hand, thanks to posting an excellent 8.00 scoring wave in the final minutes of the heat to claim the victory. Both surfers will make their next appearance in the fourth round. The heat was Banting's return to competition after a pelvic injury ruled him out of competition for the last 15 months.

"This is my first contest for 2018, so it feels good to start with two excellent scores," said Ohhara. "I saw all the surfers freesurfing this morning and how well they all surfed and I knew it would be hard to get through. The waves are so fun here, so I'm stoked to win that heat."

Hiroto Ohhara winning Heat 8 of Round 3 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Hiroto Ohhara put on an incredible dissplay to progress with Matt Banting in top spot. WSL / Ethan Smith

"My last heat was at Sunset in 2016, so it's a big contrast in waves and conditions from today," said Banting. "Even though I was injured it was good to have that time off to refresh my brain. I didn't have my first surf back until October last year, so I had close to 10 months out of the water. This was pretty similar to the waves at home, with really punchy and dredgy little peaks on offer, so I'm excited to keep building on the momentum."

Matt Banting progressed through Heat 8 of Round 3 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. 2018 could be the biggest year of Matt Banting's career. WSL / Ethan Smith

Davey Cathels showed why he was a former World Championship Tour surfer, dominating the peaks on offer. Cathels executed a mix of giant turns to win his heat with a decent 13.85 heat total.

"First heat of the year is always good to get out of the way," said Cathels. "I'm really using this event to get a few heats under my belt before Manly and Newcastle and hopefully I can get a bit of a rhythm going. "

Davey Cathels winning Heat 9 of Round 3 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Davey Cathels feeling it at Boomerang. WSL / Ethan Smith

Carrying on the same momentum that saw him post the highest heat total of the event yesterday, Shane Holmes took his surfing to the same level when he racked up an 18.05 two-wave heat total to take out his third round heat. Holmes will go into the fourth day of competition having posted the two highest heat totals and two highest wave totals of the event so far.

"The waves are so fun out there," said Holmes. "I haven't really had the results I've wanted at Maroubra and Cabarita so I hope I can get to the pointy end of competition here at Boomerang Beach. My boards have been feeling great and I hope a good result will prepare me for the upcoming Australian Boardriders Battle next weekend.

Shane Holmes winning Heat 11 of Round 3 at the 2018 VIssla Great Lakes Pro pres. by DBlanc. Central Coast powehouse Shane Holmes putting the boot into it. WSL / Ethan Smith
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