- WSL / Liam Robertson

The Phillip Island Pro presented by Bass Coast Shire has signaled the return of Pro Surfing in Victoria after a two-year hiatus.

Over 80 surfers from across Australia and New Zealand gathered at Cape Woolamai for Day 1 of the QS1,000 rated event on the World Surf League (WSL) Australia / Oceania Regional Qualifying Series (QS). The last time a WSL rated event was held in Victoria was in November 2019. After a few slow practice days for competitors, the swell arrived with rippable 2-3ft waves at the open-ocean beach break.

Top seed in the Women's division, Sophie McCullochSophie McCulloch was the stand out on day one, locking in the days highest single wave score of 9.25 (out of a possible 10).

"It feels good to get the first heat of the year out of the way" said McCulloch. "I have some family down here so it was good to see them before the event and get a heat win in the opening round. It was actually pretty fun out there, it felt a little bit like home which made me feel comfortable. My goal for this year is to qualify for the Challenger Series and then qualify for the Championship Tour. I didn't have the best run in the Challengers last year but learnt from the experience and I'm ready to enjoy this coming year!"

Sophie McCulloch Sophie McCulloch was the Day 1 standout at the Phillip Island Pro. - WSL / Liam Robertson

Local surfer Sage Goldsbury progressed through to the Round of 16 on her home beach in front of friends and family. Goldsbury locked in a heat total of 10.05 points (out of a possible 20) to place second in her Round of 32 heat.

"It's exciting to be back surfing heats. It feels like it has been so long since my last QS" said Goldsbury. "To get the chance to surf my first event back at home is incredible. Being able to sleep in my own bed and have the support of friends and family is great."

Sage Goldsbury Sage Goldsbury flying the flag for the locals at Cape Woolamai. - WSL / Liam Robertson

Other standouts throughout day one of competition included Saffi Vette, Sophie Fletcher, Alysse Cooper, Frazer Martin, and Zane Assink.

Competition is set to resume tomorrow morning with a call to be made at 7am for a 7.30am start at Cape Woolamai.

Alysse Cooper Alysse Cooper with a solid frontside wrap on Day 1. - WSL / Liam Robertson

The Phillip Island Pro is presented by Bass Coast Shire Council and supported by the Victorian Government, Ramada Resort Phillip Island, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Cancer Council Sunscreen and VicHealth.

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