Surfing's most promising future female stars hit the water today for the first two rounds of the Sydney Women's Surf Pro Qualifying Series 6,000 event. Manly Beach continued it's run of great waves for the ladies with clean 3-to-4 foot peaks up and down the beach all day.
After an injury-plagued 2017 season, former CT competitor Alessa Quizon is keen to make up for lost time in 2018. With a shock early exit at her first QS of the year in Newcastle, Quizon made amends on Day 2 at Manly, posting the highest two-wave total of the event so far, a 16.16. Quizon moves into Round Three and continues on her quest to return to the CT.
"I've learned over the years not to get caught up in the past," Quizon said. "I had a pretty bad run in Newcastle but I just moved on from it as quickly as possible and shifted my focus to this event. It's a new wave and a different event, so a chance to reset. After my injury last year, my confidence was low, so to get a win feels really good. I've come into this year looking at it like a clean slate and just reminding myself of why I do this, that I'm enjoying it and it's something that I love."
After a solid showing in Newcastle saw her finish equal 5th, Portuguese sensation Teresa Bonvalot came into the Sydney Women's Surf Pro carrying serious momentum. Bonvalot revelled in the left-handers at Manly, posting an excellent 8.17 then backing it up with 5.83 to take another heat win in 2018.
"That was a great heat for me, the waves are so fun and it's a beautiful day, so I'm really happy," Bonvalot said. "Newcastle has set me up nicely at the beginning of the year so I really want to capitalise here at Manly and set myself up for 2018. Regardless of my results, I do get to do what I love and that is the most important thing to me."
In what appeared to be one of the standout Women's heats on paper, Kirra-Belle Olsson executed a chain of world-class snaps to notch up an impressive 14.83 two-wave heat total. Fellow heat surfers Ella Williams, Leilani McGonagle and Isabella Nichols put on valiant performances as they attempted to usurp her from the top spot, however none were able to muster up the required score to take the win. Williams finished the heat in the runner-up spot, posting a 12.47 heat total, while McGonagle and Nichols finished in third and fourth respectively.
"That heat was so stacked and I knew I'd have to surf really well to get ahead of those girls," said Olsson. "The conditions began to deteriorate slightly with the low tide, so you really needed to find wave that had corners on them so you could perform a few turns. I'm definitely looking forward to the next round."
The first heat of Round Two saw young Torquay's rising star India Robinson come up against former CT competitor Chelsea Tuach, Ren Hashimoto and Ellie Brooks. After Robinson was dealt a tough hand at the recent QS6,000 in Newcastle, she was keen to put that behind her and find a win here in Manly. It wasn't going to be easy with the experience she was up against in her Round Two match-up. While the other competitors traded scores and seemed to be sitting pretty Robinson struggled to find a wave of substance. It was a classic last minute reprieve for the 16-year-old as she posted two scores back-to-back and moved into first spot to win the heat.
"To be honest it has been tough to reset after Newcastle," Robinson said. "Luckily I have a lot of people in my corner and have been able to get through it and shift my focus to this event which has been a great learning experience for me. Coming up against Chelsea and the older competitors does way on my mind a bit but I just try and go out there and do my best."