Solid windblown waves greeted Men's competitors on the opening day of the 2018 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro Qualifying Series S1,000 at Birubi Beach today.
Morgan Cibilic kept the flame alive for his 2018 Australia / Oceania regional QS campaign, moving through his Round 2 heat. Cibilic found a handful of corners in the shifty lineup, which allowed him to execute a handful of impressive snaps and post a 10.60 heat total and finish the heat in the runner-up spot.
"That whole lineup is so tricky out there and all I could think was how much I wanted to move through that heat," said Cibilic. "It's really hard to tell what the waves will do and if they'll offer you the opportunity to do turns. You actually feel lost at sea. I didn't see any of the other guys who were in my heat until right at the end."
Thomas Cervi set a high benchmark for the goofy-footers in the following heats, posting a respectable 10.50 two-wave heat total in his Round 2 heat to take the victory ahead of Mitch Barraclough who finished in the runner-up spot.
"That was a really hard heat -- I feel like I've just done a triathlon," said Cervi. "There was no real tactic to surfing a heat out there, you just needed to be lucky to find a wave that had a bit of a wall on it and hopefully it didn't closeout. It's always a good feeling to scrape through those heats."
Jared Hickel was able to get the monkey off his back, taking his first heat win in some time in his opening two rounds. Hickel got the ball rolling early in his Round 2 heat, posting a decent 7.00 point ride for a punchy left that allowed for multiple turns. Hickel will meet Barraclough, Cibilic and Nick Callister in Round 3.
"There's the odd corner out there, but for the most part it was pretty wild-and-wooly," said Hickel. "You can't develop much of a game plan out there as a lot of it comes down to luck and you really needed to stay busy. I'm stoked to get through those heats as I haven't got through a few rounds for a while now, so hopefully I can keep the ball rolling."
Nick Callister continued to claim scalps for the goofy-footers as he nailed a victory in his second round heat. Callister drifted down the beach a substantial distance over the contest area and was fortunate to find a handful of punchy lefts in the process. Callister was duly rewarded with a solid 13.97 two-wave heat total.
"I got totally lost out there and I ended up way down the beach and couldn't paddle back up," said Callister. "The jet ski came down and told me I was way out of the area, but I couldn't get back there as my arms were worn out. I tried to focus on catching those double-up waves as you could see them pretty easily when they come through, but they were hard to find where they were."
The Women's Port Stephens Toyota Pro QS6,000 event was put on standby on Day 1 of the window but is likely to get underway tomorrow morning when a call is made at 7:00 am local time. Conditions are expected to improve over the coming days with more favourable winds likely to kick in over night.