The top female seeds in the Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 event hit the water today for their first heats in what was an exciting day of surfing in small two-foot conditions.
Brisa Hennessy (CRI) showed the benefits of having spent the last fortnight on the Central Coast - training with her coach, Glenn "Micro" Hall - as she demolished her opening heat. The Costa Rican native, seamlessly synced her surfing to the punchy right-handers on offer as she notched up a solid 14.66 two-wave heat total which cemented her spot into the fourth round.
"Australia holds a very special place in my heart. So, it's great to be back," said Hennessy. "My coach Micro [Glenn Hall] lives in Avoca, so I've been here for the last two weeks preparing mentally, surfing a lot and spending some time in a competition jersey. I feel the more time I spend surfing heats, the more I learn and hopefully get results."
After some stellar heats at the recent Mothernest Great Lakes Pro, Leilani McGonagle (CRI) showed she was eager to keep the ball rolling on her 2020 campaign as she executed a variety of decent power-carves on punchy lefthanders. McGonagle was able to post two-scores in the seven-point range to get the upper hand against her opposition, including Bethany Hamilton (HAW) who failed to find form in the heat, finishing in the fourth spot.
"It feels good to get a win in my first heat," said McGonagle. "All the girls surf really good at this level and there have been some pretty big scores already today. These conditions aren't too dissimilar to a few of the days at Boomerang, so I feel like I may have got some preparation there. I'm used to surfing a pointbreak at home, so whatever time I spend on beach breaks is good practice."
Alyssa Lock's (Tweed Heads, NSW) powerful forehand carves and snaps proved to be her secret weapon in her round three heat as she claimed a heat win with a decent 12.60 two-wave total. Coming up against perennial QS standouts Samantha Sibley (USA), Ellie Brooks (Gold Coast, Qld) and Ariane Ochoa (Basque Country), Lock found a handful of playful lefthanders that allowed her to link together a chain of impressive turns and post the aforementioned score.
"I got off to a slow start in that heat but thankfully I was able to find a handful of little lefts that had an open face on them as the heat went on," said Lock. "I reminded myself the whole heat to stay patient, back myself and not let the nerves get to me. The heats here are so stacked so I feel as every win is a pat on the back."
Local competitor Molly Picklum (Shelly Beach, NSW) flew the flag loud and proud for the local surfing contingent, hammering her way through her opening heat. Picklum put on an impeccable performance in the heat, posting a decent 14.93 two-wave total to get the win ahead of former World Junior Champion Kirra Pinkerton (USA) who finished in the runner-up spot.
"I was feeling a little nervous before that heat, but once there was a flurry of waves I began to relax a lot more," said Picklum. "Kirra is always super hard to beat, so to get ahead of her in my heat is an amazing feeling. I think being able to stay in my own bed and sleep at home is a bit of an advantage as well."
The 2020 Vissla and Sisstrevolution Pro will run from February 25 - March 1.