The stage has been set for a huge Finals Day at Cabarita for the Oakeberry Tweed Coast Pro QS5,000 event. As the last event of the 2021 Australia / Oceania regional Qualifying Series, tomorrow's results will decide this region's representatives on the Challenger Series to be held later this year. Day 4 of competition saw competitors battle it out in tricky two-to-three foot conditions as the men's Quarterfinalists and Women's Semifinalists were decided.
Tweed Heads surfer Kobie Enright has guaranteed the best result of her career with at least a Semifinal finish at Cabarita. Enright came into the event with low expectations but will leave with a spot on the Challenger Series as she moves into the top 10 on the Australia / Oceania QS rankings. Enright will take on Cabarita local Zahli Kelly in her Semifinal matchup after Kelly ended the run of event of 14-year-old standout Sierra Kerr. Kerr finished in equal 5th place which is a massively commendable result in her first ever WSL QS event.
"It's not quite home but it may as well be so it feels awesome to compete here," Enright said. "Usually we are competing in Sydney or overseas so I'll take a QS5,000 in Caba any day. I generally put a lot of pressure on myself but this event I was really keen to just have fun with it and it seems to be paying off. I am really happy to have made it to the Semifinals and am now just keen to try to make one more and get into the Final tomorrow."
Having all but locked in her spot on the Challenger Series for 2021, Central Coast dynamo Molly Picklum has one thing in mind for the last event of the season in Australia, and that is to win it. Having already won at the QS1,000 level, Picklum believes a win at the 5000 level is the confidence boost she needs ahead of the CS which commences later this year and she's on her way, today proving she can do it in all conditions including the tough low-tide beach-breaks. Picklum will have her work cut out for her when she comes up against the event form surfer Sophie McCulloch, who is on a roll in 2021.
"We were definitely scraping the bottom of the barrel then," Picklum said. "It's super hard over the low tide but I'm happy I did what I needed to get the job done and could manufacture a few scores when I needed to. I definitely have high expectations of myself and sometimes you just need to get the job done and be happy with that and be happy making it through the round."
Newcastle's Jackson Baker continued his epic run of form in 2021, booking himself a spot in the Quarterfinals at Cabarita with another solid performance seeing him post the second highest two-wave combination of the Round of 32. Baker started his heat with a fall that would have usually seen him become frustrated, but the fiery natural-footer implemented some newly-adopted mindfulness techniques that saw him reset, recompose and take the win.
"Usually I would let something like that at the start of the heat get to me and my heat would be over," Baker said. "Recently I've been working on staying calm and even doing some meditation -- I can get a little hot headed so I'm just trying to chill my head out. Once I do that I can focus on my heat and getting the scores I need. I know I'm close to locking my CS spoot in but I'm trying to not focus on that and to focus on my goal here which is to go all the way."
South Coaster Kalani Ball has booked himself into a qualification showdown with Cooper Chapman in Quarterfinal 4, with the winner of the heat almost guaranteeing their spot on the Challenger Series. Chapman made his intention to win the event clear with his Round of 32 performance, winning with the highest two-wave combination of the round. If he is to win however, he will need to overcome a hungry and inform Chapman.
"My goal is to win this event and that's all I'm focussed on at the moment," Ball said. "I've been feeling good here during this event but feel like I'm building and have more room to build. That was definitely the best heat I've had here yet but feel like I've got more room to move. Tomorrow will be fun. Cooper is ripping at the moment so it should be an exciting heat."
Coolangatta trio Mitch Parkinson, Sheldon Simkus and Brent Dorrington all booked themselves spots into the Quarterfinals at Cabarita with Simkus being the main surfer looking to lock in on the CS. Other Quarterfinal spots went to Callum Robson and Central Coast youngster Lennox Chell.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow as competition as Champions are crowned with competition starting 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.