It's been a huge day of action for Day 2 of the Port Stephens Pro presented by Mad Mex with the top seeds hitting the water in super fun two-to-four foot waves at One Mile Beach, just north of the primary event site of Birubi Beach. The long right-hand walls saw the bar raised with huge heat totals being dropped in both the men's and women's divisions.
Victorian India Robinson put on a clinic in the grinding right-hand point waves, posting an excellent heat total of 17.60 (out of a possible 20) to progress into the Round of 16. Growing up on the Surf Coast of Torquay, Robinson is no stranger to long right walls and it showed as she looks to set up one of her strongest results in a couple of years.
"When I knew we were going to compete here at this sandbank I was so excited," Robinson said. "I've been watching it all week and knew with some swell it would be really fun and that's exactly what it was. I had so much fun out there. I feel like I got a bit lucky because all of my waves hit the bank perfectly which allowed me to open up. I'm so happy to be back at an event and seeing all of my friends. It's so good to all be back competing in events like this."
Fresh off a runner-up finish at the recent Great Lakes Pro, North Narrabeen livewire Jordy Lawler continued to impress with another solid heat win, this time at the Port Stephens event. Lawler's backhand finesse saw him light up the right-point of One Mile to pieces, progressing with a heat total of 15.65. Lawler has come into the 2021 season with a newfound appreciation for competing and doing what he loves after COVID forced the cancellation of events and travel in 2020.
"I'm just so stoked to be back doing this and competing," Lawler said. "I never realised what it meant to me until it was taken away last year. It's all I've ever known. I've come into this year with a newfound appreciation for competing and I really feel like it is reflecting in my results and scores. Today has been good, the waves are so fun out there and it looks like it will continue which will be good to keep the momentum going."
New South Wales North Coast prodigy Zahli Kelly was in formidable form at One Mile Point, posting a near-perfect single wave score of 9.50 (out of a possible 10) for a series of searing frontside hacks. After a disappointing first-round loss at the last event, Kelly will be eyeing off a solid result as she heads into finals day at the Port Stephens Pro.
"It's a really good bank out there so if you get the right one it definitely gives you plenty of opportunities to do turns," Kelly said. "It's always good to get fun waves at an event and I'm definitely looking forward to what tomorrow has on offer out here."
Brazilian born and Gold Coast raised surfer Thomas Carvalho showed his deep nous of right-hand point breaks as he belted out some beautiful forehand snaps and carves to take out a stacked heat against local competitor Mike Clayton-Brown, Koda Killorn and Dylan Moffat. Carvalho made his intentions clear as he posted a massive 8.25 wave score that allowed him to gain the upper hand against his opposition and as a result progressed through the heat alongside the local surfer.
"It was just like Snapper out there if you got the right wave," said Carvalho. "I was so excited to get out there and it's epic to get this for a QS. I tried not to get too worried about drawing a local in the heat but you could tell he was all over it and knew he'd be tough to beat. I guess the main thing that got me edgy in the end was that I waited for a while to get my first wave."
Manly local George Pittar's sharp approach impressed the judges over the duration of his round of 64 and round of 32 heats. The fast natural-footer belted out an array of beautiful forehand turns to earn his spot into the Round of 16.
"I've been wanting to get through a few QS heats for quite some time, but I've only had small moments where I've succeeded," said Pittar. "I really think these long rights favoured my surfing and you could really push your turns. I hope this run of swell continues tomorrow."
Other standouts on Day 2 included Byron Bay's Kyuss King who posted a near excellent 9.15 in his heat winning performance to beat youngster Marlon Harrison who also progressed with a solid heat total. After a disappointing result at Boomerang and a near-miss in his opening Round heat, Liam O'Brien put on a commanding display to take out his Round of 32 with a two-wave total of 15.50.
Current rankings leader Molly Picklum booked herself a spot on Finals day along with fellow Central Coaster Kirra-Belle Olsson with both surfers enjoying the long walls of One Mile. Sunny Coasters Sahsa Baker and Sophie McCulloch also dominated their respective heats at One Mile.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow for Finals Day at the Port Stephens Pro presented by Mad Mex.