The stage is set for a fantastic finish to the Cape Naturaliste Pro after men's Quarterfinalists and women's semi-finalists were decided in playful waves at Yallingup Reef. After two days of absolutely pumping surf, an easing swell saw the event shift to one of WA's most iconic locations, with Yallingup Main Break deciding the final 12 surfers who will compete tomorrow.
With glassy 2-4 feet peaks on offer, an array of local, Australian and international surfers battled hard to progress through to finals day which has great conditions forecast.
Japan's Daiki Tanaka won the opening heat of the day and looked loose and lively on his way to a combined total of 13.40 (from a possible 20). In a heat missing Callum Robson (AUS), who had to withdraw due to injury, Tanaka controlled the line up to move through to the quarterfinals along with Zack McMahon (Evans Heads, AUS).
"This is my first time to Yallingup and I love the waves out there, it's so fun," said Tanaka. "I'll try my best tomorrow and I look forward to more swell coming."
Mikey McDonagh (Lennox Heads, AUS) was the standout surfer on day three of competition, using some great wave selection and stylish rail work to post the highest two-wave combined total of the day, 15.85 (from a possible 20) that included an 8.20 and 7.65.
"I last surfed Yalls at an Aussie Junior Titles here a few years ago," said McDonagh. "Stoked to be back here, there are great competition waves out there. I'm pumped for tomorrow, I've had a bit of a shady year with injuries and results so I'm just trying to shake that all off and focus on a good result."
Germany's Dylan Groen along with Australian's Thomas Cervi (Noosa, AUS) and Cooper Davies (Noosa, AUS), Maddy Job (Burleigh, AUS) and Lucas Wrice (Sandon Point, AUS) all progressed and looked in great form as they head into the final day of the WA Pro Surf Series for 2019.
Conditions deteriorated as women's quarterfinals hit the water, but the standard remained high as the final four females were decided.
Freya Prumm (Gold Coast, AUS) used her experience to overcome highly fancied Molly Picklum (North Shelly, AUS) in quarterfinal one. Prumm found the best two waves on offer posting a 7.00 and 6.80 to finish on 13.80 (from a possible 20), leaving Picklum chasing an excellent number for the win.
"Molly is a great competitor and I think she's the future of women's surfing in Australia," said Prumm. "I definitely didn't want to draw her, but think my 10 plus years more of experience helped me out there."
Former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Felicity Palmateer (Burleigh, AUS) ground out a tough win over Portugal's Yoldana Hopkins, using her competition smarts to get the best scores in a wave starved heat. Palmateer scored a 6.50 and 5.10 on her way to the win.
"That was so tricky out there, I've always found Yallingup really challenging and that was one of those heats that I had to think about, and work hard when my chances came," said Palmateer. "I'm stoked to be through to the semis and can't wait for tomorrow."
Although now representing Italy, Claire Bevilacqua is a Yallingup local through and through and it was evident as she paddled out to the cheers and applause of the local community behind her. Bevilacqua posted a 12.25 two-wave combined total to take down Alysse Cooper (Manly, AUS).
"Yallingup is such a big playing field and you can be sitting 200 meters away from your competitor out there," said Bevilacqua. "I just tried to stay calm out there and focus on finding those good waves. This is the best spot in the world and it's so good to be at home and competing."
Giada Legati (ITA) posted her best ever Qualifying Series result by moving through to the semifinals of the Cape Natualiste Pro defeating West Australian Denver Young (Yallingup, AUS).
"I love it here in Yallingup and the place is so amazing," said Legati. "I'm just happy to have the sun out and the waves pumping through."
The Cape Naturaliste Pro champions will be crowned tomorrow with solid spike in swell and favorable winds conditions forecast. Event officials will make the call tomorrow at 7 am for a possible 8 am start, with Injidup Car Park and Yallingup Main Break both likely options.
The Cape Naturaliste Pro men's and women's QS1,000 events ran from October 24 - 27.