International women competitors made their mark on the 2020 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event at Boomerang Beach, with surfers battling it out in beautiful two-to-three foot conditions.
Leilani McGonagle (CRI) got the day off to a flying start finding a handful of long tapered walls in the opening heat of the event. The Costa Rican goofy-foot snapped and carved away at a variety of lefthanders in the heat to post a respectable 11.60 two-wave heat total and earn herself a spot into the second round.
"It was really fun out there," said McGonagle. "We don't usually get waves that good on the QS, so it's sick to come here and have some nice sized waves and only have a couple of people in the water. Boomerang is such an amazing spot, so I figured this was the best spot to come and get my feet in the wax again and hopefully gain some momentum for the bigger events in Newcastle and Manly."
Back in Australia for the first time since winning the 2019 Phillip Island Pro, 15-year-old Luana Silva (HAW) showed her snaps and carves had remained as sharp as ever. The Hawaiian natural-footer hammered the punchy waves on offer and as a result, was awarded an excellent 8.25 wave score that gave her the upper hand against her opposition.
"I'm super stoked to get that first round out of the way," said Silva. "I wanted to stay busy out there and that's how I found that eight-point ride. This is my first time in Boomerang and I really like it. My goal this year is mainly to focus on the Junior events and a few QS competitions like this one and then hit the QS full-time next year."
Prior to this week, Meah Collins (USA) contemplated pulling out of the 2020 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro in favour of directing her focus towards the Challenger Series events in Sydney and New Zealand. However, her decision to remain in the draw was reinforced by her result in her opening heat. No stranger to Boomerang Beach, the Californian native put on an impressive display of massive backside snaps which saw her rewarded with two excellent scores in excess of 8.00.
"I always have first heat nerves, so it feels great to get that heat out of the way," said Collins. "I love Boomerang and I'm really happy I decided to compete here again. The water is warm and it's just beautiful and I can't ask for a better introductory comp for the Australian contest leg."
Other international standouts in round one included Camilla Kemp (GER) who posted a near-perfect 9.00 wave score and recent Carve Pro Champion Sarah Baum (ZAF) who locked in an 8.25 wave score.
The 2020 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro will run from February 19 - 23.