Caleb Tancred has taken out the 2018Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro Pro Men's Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event at Birubi Beach in fun clean-two foot waves. It was a battle of the youngsters at Tancred came up against fellow teenager and life long rival, Mikey McDonagh in the Final.
In what was his first WSL QS Final, Caleb Tancred surfed a smart heat, waiting patiently for set waves in the small inconsistent conditions. The 17-year old posted a 7.33 (out of a possible 10) early for a series of strong backhand snaps. He then waited with priority as McDonagh stayed busy, catching a number of smaller waves on the inside. Only needing a small score in the dying minutes, Avoca native Tancred took off on a set wave, sealing the deal with a heat total of 14.16. This win could be the confidence booster Tancred needs as he prepares for the World Junior Championships in Taiwan later this month.
"To be honest it didn't feel like a QS final, it was like sharing a Pro or State Junior final with Mikey," said Tancred. "Getting up at 4.40 this morning to drive back up here from the Central Coast, I didn't think I would make it this far. I really wanted to just make it into the man-on-man finals which I had never done before. Micro (Glenn Hall - Caleb's coach) said I should enter this event before heading to the World Juniors and put a few heats together again, but to come away with the trophy feels unreal."
Having competed against each other since they were 7-years-old, this heat was nothing new for Mikey McDonagh and Tancred except it was the first QS final for both of them. For McDonagh, winning two-from-two Pro Junior Finals in recent years meant he had a 100% success rate coming into the matchup. He looked destined to end up on the podium as he consistently posted solid heat wins throughout the event. Unfortunately for the Lennox Head native, he came short in the Final, but leaves Birubi with one of the best results of his young career.
"We're childhood rivals and best friends so it's definitely weird to share a QS final with Caleb," said McDonagh. "Getting runner-up usually stings but this isn't stinging at all. Getting second here is a huge confidence boost heading into 2019. I had to surf five times today and I adopted the mindset that every heat was a bonus. I'm in a bit of shock to be honest."
On their way to the Final, Tancred overcame Northern Beaches surfer Harley Ross while McDonagh was too good for Lliam Mortensen, also from the Northern Beaches, making it a clean sweep across the top 4 for NSW competitors.
Earlier in the day, Morgan Cibilic was eliminated just short of the Quarterfinals meaning he fell just short of taking out the WSL Australia / Oceania Regional Qualifying Series. Instead the title went to his fellow Merewether resident Jackson Baker.
After the completion of the Men's QS1,000 event today, attention will return to the Women's QS6,000 event which will resume tomorrow in Round 4.