The 2019 Carve Pro WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 rated event heated up at Maroubra today, with a sudden jump in swell and performances from the remaining contenders.
Lliam Mortensen put it all on the line throughout the course of his fourth-round heat today, performing a series of exciting aerial maneuvers and turns to claim victory and earn a spot into the quarters. Mortenson's performance hit its peak when he threw down a giant full-rotation air reverse that nabbed him a 7.40 wave score and put his fellow competitors at arm's length.
"I felt the north-east wind kick in throughout my round four heat, so I got pretty excited," said Mortenson. "The heat started a bit funky but thankfully I turned it around. It felt nice to be able to wait for a set and do a fin-throw into the wind. It would have been nice to go bigger, but I'm stoked to take the win in a stacked heat like that."
Former WSL Championship Tour surfer Connor O'Leary kept building on yesterday's highlight reel performance, linking a chain of backside snaps and turns to take victory in his round four heat. O'Leary opted to use a more traditional approach to his heat today and as a result was able to post two scores in the mid-seven-point range to seal his spot into tomorrow's quarterfinals.
"The waves were a little tricky with the righthanders bending out to sea, so I just spent my time looking for a wave with a corner," said O'Leary. "After I found one I spent my time looking for a little left and fortunately I found one that sealed the deal."
After falling a few spots short of qualifying for the 2019 Championship Tour last year, Philippa Anderson returned to competition at the Carve Pro looking electric. The Novocastrian natural-footer executed a handful of impressive and innovative snaps and carves to claim her round four heat and seal herself a spot into the quarterfinals where she'll face off with Cedar Leigh-Jones.
"There's always some nerves in the first heat of the year," said Anderson. "It's good to get some heats under the belt and drop some scores before the higher ranked events kick off. Even though it's just the first event, I'm just going to take it all heat-by-heat and focus on some small personal goals."
Molly Picklum ensured her 2019 campaign kept going from strength-to-strength, claiming an exciting victory in her round four heat. The 16-year-old nailed a handful of critical end section turns to claim the win with a respectable 11.90 two-wave heat total and as a result cemented her spot into the quarterfinals where she'll meet Holly Wawn.
"The last couple of comps in 2018 and the start of 2019 have been so good and I've learnt so much," said Picklum. "I think some of those results have given me a massive confidence boost coming into this event and helped me get to this point. I can't wait for finals day tomorrow."