The Mandurah Pro, the opening event of the West Australian Pro Surf Series kicked off today at Pyramids Beach with small, clean and highly contestable conditions prevailing for the opening round of Men's and Women's competition.
An ease in overnight swell forced competition to go mobile, with Pyramids on the south side of the Dawesville Cut serving up summer-like conditions, with 2-3 feet waves testing competitors who had converged on Mandurah from nine separate nations.
16 heats highlighted an exciting day and as temperature soared above 30 degrees, the action in and out of the water was red-hot. Surfers who were able to maximize their opportunities extracted big scores out of the small waves on offer.
Men's heats kicked off the day with West Australian stalwart Luke Campbell (Margaret River, AUS) an early standout, winning his opening round heat on the strength of some solid and smart backhand surfing.
Campbell posted a two-wave combined total of 12.20 (from a possible 20), which included a heat-high 6.60 (from a possible 10).
"It's always nice to get an event started with a win," laughed Campbell. "It was definitely tough out there, but I found a couple of runners and got the job done."
Alex McGuffin (Bicton, AUS) was another West Australian who found the conditions to his liking, posting the highest combined total for the Men's on day one. McGuffin's 13.65 (from a possible 20) came off the strength of his innovative forehand attack.
McGuffin took to the sky, nailing multiple aerial reverses and booking his place in round two with ease.
"The waves have been sort of small, but the lefts are offering multiple sections," said McGuffin. "I landed one air and just kept going for them and I'm really stoked to win that heat. I love it down here in Mandurah, there's a variety of different waves and although it was tricky I'm happy to get through."
Other male surfers to impress on day one included, Tully Wylie (Jan Juc, AUS), Darcy Crump (Avalon, AUS), Lucas Wrice (Wollongong, AUS), Samson Coulter (Manly, AUS), Cy Cox (Margaret River, AUS) and Dylan Moffat (Narrabeen, AUS) who all won their opening round heats at the Mandurah Pro.
In the Women's event, number one seed and former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Claire Bevilacqua (ITA) kicked off her campaign in style, winning thanks to some strong backhand surfing.
Bevilacqua posted a 6.50 (from a possible 10) and backed it up with a 4.75 to finish on a combined total of 11.25 (from a possible 20).
"It's a beautiful day down here and I've been loving just hanging out with my friends," said Bevilacqua. "Conditions are offering us opportunities for big scores still so I can't complain, just head down and get the job done."
Another former CT surfer that has close ties to Western Australia is Felicity Palmateer (Burleigh Heads, AUS). Despite years of experience in the waves around Mandurah, Palmateer struggled to find quality waves, but did enough to get a hard-fought win, ahead of WA rising star Coral Durant (Red Bluff, AUS).
"That heat was a real nail-biter, I left it to the last 10 minutes to get my two waves," said Palmateer. "It is tricky out there, there's a lot more closeout this afternoon and you just have to find a corner, but I'm just happy to progress and hopefully the rest of the event brings more swell."
Joining Bevilacqua and Palmateer in the winner's circle was Brittany Penaroza (HAW), Saffi Vette (NZL), 2019 Australasian Pro Junior Champion Molly Micklum (North Shelly, AUS), Mandurah Pro local wildcard April McPherson (Falcon, AUS), Vittoria Farmer (Noosa, AUS) and Yolda Hopkins (PRT).
Surf conditions are forecast to ease overnight with potential lay-day on the cards for tomorrow. A 7am call will be made tomorrow for Men's and Women's Round 2.
The WA Pro Surf Series has been made possible thanks to a successful partnership between Surfing WA, WSL, City of Mandurah, Visit Mandurah, City of Busselton, and the Western Australian Government, through Tourism WA.
WA Pro Surf Series Event Dates
Mandurah Pro QS1,000 - October 19 - 22
Cape Naturaliste Pro QS1,000 - October 24 - 27