The Mothernest Great Lakes Pro saw another exciting day of action today as the Men's top seeds hit the water for their opening heats in a day that was largely dominated by seasoned Qualifying Series surfers.
2018 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro winner Jackson Baker showed the same skills that won him the event back in 2018, finding punchy rights that were strangely reminiscent of the year he claimed victory. The Novocastrian natural-footer shone in the heat, nailing an array of mature power turns that were bountifully rewarded with a 16.00 two-wave heat total. Baker will join an all international battle tomorrow when he faces Leon Glatzer, Timothee Bisso and John Mark Tokong in round four.
"It's good to get my first heat win of the year under my belt to begin the Australian competition leg," said Baker. "This event is too easy for me to compete in, it's so close to home and I spend a lot of time up here on day trips and holidays. These little shorebreaks had a bit of push in them, which I think really allowed everyone to showcase their best surfing as well."
Kyuss King looked like becoming one of the first top seeds to be eliminated from the event as he waited until the final five minutes to strike in his round three heat. Up against the ropes, King needed a solid score to move from fourth to first but was able to find a lengthy and powerful righthander that allowed him to perform a multitude of impressive forehand hits and earn himself a 7.00 wave score that shot him from fourth to first.
"That was a nerve-racking heat," said King. "It definitely gets the butterflies going in my stomach when I leave my charge to the final minutes, so I'd like to get an earlier start in the next one. I just need to remember to stay positive in situations like that and just focus on my gameplan."
Sandon Whittaker used the morning's wedgey lefts to his advantage, nailing a mix of snappy hits and exciting airs. The Central Coast goofy-foot gained the edge in the heat thanks to a decent 12.30 heat total which allowed him to claim the win. Whittaker will face fellow Australian's Harley Ross, Blake Neka and Jamie Thomson in round four.
"I haven't surfed a heat for some time, so it felt good to come here and begin the event with a heat win," said Whittaker. "My whole tactic was to nail a few quick turns and some punts as there was sometimes only limited time to perform any maneuvers. Hopefully, I can get a decent result here that will carry me towards some bigger comps overseas later in the year."
Jordy Lawler appeared to show no sign of slowing down since winning last year's Vissla Sydney Surf Pro as he put on a razor-sharp performance in his round three heat at Boomerang Beach today. The Narrabeen goofy-footer remained busy over the course of the heat, catching nine waves and performing a bunch of giant backside turns. Lawler finished the heat with a decent 13.50 two-wave heat total to earn himself a spot into round four.
"I had a ball out there for that heat," said Lawler. "Often the waves don't get this good on the QS, so I tried to make the most of the conditions out there today by remaining as busy as I could. It'd be awesome to post a good result here and keep the ball rolling into the Vissla Central Coast Pro next week."
The 2020 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro will run from February 19 - 23.