- WSL / Ho and Pringle Productions

Seems like surfers pretty much everywhere around the world have been enjoying a good run of waves, or at the very least, have plenty of reason to be optimistic.

There's No Place Like Oz

Starting things off, the cyclone swell that lit up the Gold Coast last week, and the run continued into Sunday, with solid sessions at Kirra, Snapper and Greenmount. One of the standouts of the run was Jordy Smith, who you can see ripping in the edit below.

But it wasn't only the Gold Coast scoring -- the Cyclone Juice was reaching down the East Coast of Australia, and Championship Tour vet Adrian Buchan has also been making the most of the summer waves.

What Was Caio Thinking?

True to his words from the Pipe Masters back in December, Caio Ibelli is not holding anything back. Charging a mutant, freak show of a wave at home in Brazil, his success rate doesn't appear to be too high, but based on the comments on is IG post, the effort certainly hasn't gone unnoticed. All in good fun, hopefully he has a good chiropractor to straighten him back out.

The Surf's About To Pump In A Lot Of Places

Based on swell models, it looks like anywhere with some exposure in the Atlantic is going to light up. There's all kinds of swell brewing for places in France, Spain and Portugal. In the Pacific, there's a Valentine's Day swell looming for Pipeline. And next week the waves pick back up in California. It may be kind of hard to chase swells too far afield right now, but if you know where to look, sounds like there will be plenty of waves around the local lineups.

Tip Of The Cap To Pops

And finally, the sandbar at Ehukai on the North Shore has been providing plenty of entertainment for the local crew, but none are as inspiring as the great Michael Ho, who at 64 years young, appears to be charging harder than ever and giving zero regard for his body. You love to see it.

The Qualifying Series is about to return

And with all the surf, this week saw Australian Qualifying Series competitors putting the final touches on their preparation for the return of competition. The first of four upcoming events is set to kick off with the Great Lakes Pro on February 16 at Boomerang Beach. This is one of Australia's best and most consistent beachbreak set-ups. And considering it's been nearly a year since the last event for some of these competitors, expect to see them come out swinging.

Before competition was called off due to the pandemic, Matt Banting was on top of the QS rankings and looking well on his way to achieving a goal of returning to the Championship Tour. Expect him to do his best to make a statement at Boomerang, alongside former CT surfer Soli Bailey, as well as Reef Heazlewood and many more of the best surfers in Australia.

The women's draw is also stacked with some of the most exciting up-and-coming Australian talent, with Molly Picklum, Philippa Anderson and Dimity Stoyle set to compete, and that's just naming a few.

Championship Tour surfers eye off Newcastle

Newcastle has been announced as the first stop of the Championship Tour, and that means surfers have begun to think about how to approach the wave at Merewether Beach. As local favorite and CT surfer Ryan Callinan explained this week, it's a wave with many faces. On its day it's one of the best waves on the East Coast, but they don't necessarily come around that often and surfers will need to be prepared to adapt to a variety of conditions. Sally Fitzgibbons -- who has won QS events there three times -- says the best way to do well is to just get swept up in the history of the surf-mad town with a long association with World Champions.

"First thing you have to get down in order to do well at Newcastle is to embrace the place. I just love going to Newy, I really enjoy what the surf community is, the history, it's iconic, the surfers who have come out of there ... just learning a bit about the place you're going to always holds you in good stead," Fitzgibbons told the WSL this week.

Meanwhile, Sally scored the latest cover of Australian Women's Health -- the "Comeback Issue" -- in which she discusses bouncing back from all the uncertainty thrown up by the pandemic over the past year.

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