Day 2 of the Oakeberry Tweed Coast Pro has seen another massive day of action at Cabarita Beach with clean two-to-three foot surf on offer for some of Australia and New Zealand's best up and coming surfers. Today saw the opening two rounds of the women's event hit the water along with the first of the men's top seeds in Round 3.
Sierra Kerr may be the most popular 14-year-old surfer on the planet and this week's Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro is her first World Surf League event. The Tweed Heads-born prodigy is the daughter of Former CT star and aerial surfing phenom Josh Kerr. She has been turning heads for a few years now with her prowess both above and below the lip. Today, Sierra took her free surf game and executed it perfectly, winning through her two opening Round heats and into the Round of 32 where she'll look to rattle the cage of the event top seeds.
"I'm mainly here to see if I can make some heats and get some experience against the best surfers in Australia," Kerr said. "Of course winning is always on my mind and I'll always like to win but I'm just stoked to be here and getting some experience. It's good to know I can put up enough scores to win a heat at this level. It's so good to be back in Aus, I love it here -- the waves are always so good and there are always amazing vibes -- my dad knows everyone around here and everyone always lets me get waves which is cool -- I love surfing with my dad."
Coolangatta surfer Ellie Brooks made a triumphant return to competition today with a solid win at Cabarita Beach in her opening round heat. A constant qualification threat, early 2020 saw Brooks sustain a career-threatening ACL injury which required surgery and over 12 months of rehabilitation. Brooks only recently returned to 100% surfing but today, the only thing that showed it was the brace she wore on her knee, as the stylish goofy-footer went to town in the right hand walls at Cabarita. Brooks took an easy win to progress into Round 4 where she will come up against event top seed and CT competitor Macy Callaghan.
"I was just excited to get back in the water and have some fun," Brookes said. "This recovery has been such a big process with a lot of challenges so I'm just happy to be here today and back competing. I've been working a lot with my shaper Luke Short on some boards that have suited my rehab but changed it into more of a comp set up for this week and if felt really good which is great. For the last few months I've been getting annoyed with having to wear a knee brace and today I made sure I kept a positive attitude towards it and it seemed to work."
Former CT competitor Soli Bailey was a standout on Day 2 of competition, posting the highest two-wave combination of the event so far. Bailey's excellent score of 16.16 included an 8.83 for a massive backhand full rotation air-reverse. Bailey has relished the opportunity to focus on this major event as a stand alone as he prepares for the Challenger Series and his attempt to reinstate himself amongst the worlds best on the elite Championship Tour.
"It's quite nice to come here to Tweed with so many points on the line and be able to really focus on just one event," Bailey said. We had a few back-to-back at the start of the year and a few at the end of the year so it's nice to have this stand alone event and put all your eggs in the one basket. I have some big goals to get back on the tour -- obviously with the way of the world right now it's a slow process but I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to get back on the CT."
After a solid run of performances during the QS events at the beginning of the year, Jordy Lawler was hoping for a wildcard spot when the Championship Tour landed on his home beach of North Narrabeen back in April. Unfortunately for Lawler, his ranking didn't allow him to take the spot and the electric goofy-footer was left to stew on it for the next two months until today at the Tweed Coast Pro when he took his opportunity to remind the surfing world just how good he is. Lawler surfed a patient heat, only taking three waves to post his winning score and continue into the next round.
"It feels amazing to get back in the jersey," Lawler said. "I had a good run at the start of the year then a bit of a shocker at Avoca so ever since then I've been fired up to get back in a heat and redeem myself. I was hoping I'd get an opportunity at the CT event and when I didn't It was a tough one to swallow -- but it just added to the fire in my belly -- in a good way. It all just got me fired up to compete and so when I heard this event could be on I was so keen to get here and put on a performance."
Be sure to tune in tomorrow as competition continues and the top seeds hit the water at Cabarita from 8:00 am AEST.
The Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro is supported by the NSW Government's Regional Events Acceleration Fund which encourages new major events to be delivered in regional areas, where they will have a positive impact on local economies.
The 2021 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro QS5,000 and Pro Junior Events are set to run on the Tweed Coast from June 19 - 25. For more information on the event head to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the Free WSL App.