NewsGold Coast Open pres by Flight Centre

Competitors Prepare For Finals Day at Burleigh Heads.

The WSL Qualifying Series (QS) event at the 2019 Gold Coast Open pres by Flight Centre presented by Flight Centre has run today at Burleigh Heads, with 8 heats of men's round 3, and 8 heats of women's round 2 completed. Clean, peeling 2-3ft (1.5m) waves welcomed competitors in the morning ahead of competition, along with beautiful sunny conditions and very light winds which created some highly contestable conditions.

The broadcast screen at the 2019 Gold Coast Open presented by Flight Centre. Fans enjoying the luxury of action replay. WSL / Ben Stagg

Current women's WSL QS leader Isabella Nichols has once again easily progressed through her heat, taking advantage of the right-handers on offer at Burleigh Point by laying out an array of forehand carves and snaps. Nichols defeated Claire Bevilacqua, Ellie Brooks (Gold Coast, QLD) and Amy Gore (Christies Beach, SA) respectively in an exciting first heat of the day. Nichols put together a 6.25 (out of a possible 10.00) combined with a 4.5 for a total heat score of 10.75 (out of a possible 20.00). Nichols couldn't keep the smile off her face as she returned to shore, as she will progress to round three tomorrow.

"It was pretty hard out there," said Nichols. "There definitely weren't many waves in that heat. I got a few good waves at the start, which helped a lot, a couple of good ones came through. I'm looking forward to some bigger waves tomorrow, Burleigh is awesome when there are good waves."

Isabella Nichols at the 2019 Gold Coast Open presente by Flight Centre. Isabella Nichols looking for another Buerleigh Trophy as she continues to lead the QS charge in 2019. WSL / Ben Stagg

Other standout names in the women's division include Holly Williams, Kirra Belle Olsson, Sophie McCulloch, Dimity Stoyle and Ren Hashimoto.

Former WSL World Tour surfer Ethan Ewing will advance into round 4 tomorrow, after taking out his round 3 heat today with a combined heat total of 15.35. Ewing made the most of a lull-filled heat with not many waves on offer, managing to score one of the highest single waves scores of the event, a 9.0 - backed up with a 6.35 to take him into the lead. Ewing defeated Finn Hill, Alister Reginato and local surfer Maddy Job respectively in a high-energy heat.

"It feels really good," said Ewing. "I had a bit of a shaky start in my earlier heat, so it's good to make it through to round 4. I'm looking forward to surfing more heats, and getting back into my rhythm. This contest is full of up-and-coming surfers so it's definitely not easy - but it's a lot of fun."

Ethan Ewing at the 2019 Gold Coast Open presented by FLight Centre. Ethan Ewing will be hoping to build some confidence with a solid Burleigh result as he did the year he qualified. WSL / Ben Stagg

Former event winner, Indonesian surfer and current Gold Coast resident Oney Anwar will progress through to round 4 along with Billy Stairmand after he scores a combined heat total of 12.5 - eliminating Jack Murray and Kurtis Vaughan. Anwar carved up a 6.5 early on in his heat, and it was not until the dying minutes of the heat in which he was able to score his 6.0 as a backup and take him through to round 4.

"I definitely had to get in tune with the ocean for that heat," said Anwar. "I had to be patient for sure, the ocean was being very slow. It was a bit nerve-racking when I heard another surfer get a big score really early in the heat - I knew I would have to the what I could get and surf it well. I don't want to overthink the rest of the event, I'm just going to take it heat-by-heat."

Claire Bevilacqua at the 2019 Gold Coast Open presented by Flight Centre. Claire Bevilacqua on to Finals Day. WSL / Ben Stagg

Other standout surfers from men's round 3 included Sheldon Simkus, Stuart Kennedy, Josh Boyle (Gold Coast, QLD), and Callum Robson.

Tomorrow will see the QS event back in the water first up, with the event wrapping up in the afternoon.

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