- WSL / Natalie Meredith

Day two of the Gage Roads Port Stephens Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event has seen pumping waves at Birubi Beach with a massive day of competition setting the stage for Finals Day tomorrow. 28 Heats were run at Birubi (Worimi Country) to see the completion of Men's and Women's Round of 32 in super clean three-to-four foot surf.

Lineup The waves were pumping from sun up to sun down at Birubi Beach on Day 2. - WSL / Tom Bennett

Continuing his run of form from round three and his Quarterfinal finish at Boomerang Beach, New Zealand Olympian Billy Stairmand was back to his best, showing off his elite rail surfing. Stairmand today took another heat win and will move through to finals day. He is looking to continue his form on Australian soil in the hope to secure a spot on the Challenger Series.

"It feels good to get through to finals day in such a competitive field here at Birubi for the Gage Roads Port Stephens Pro," said Stairmand. "It's great to have a full crew of Kiwi's down here including Kehu Butler and Saffi Vette and we are all aspiring to keep together, enjoy the rest of the events here in Australia and all secure some good results".

Mikey Clayton-Brown had his hands full with a stacked heat against Great Lakes Pro winner Joel Vaughan, runner-up Cooper Davies and Stu Kennedy. But they were no match for the Port Stephens local who secured a huge win and boost of confidence ahead of finals day.

"I'm so pumped to get a win out here at home against such a stacked field of amazing surfers," Clayton-Brown said. "I really tried to use my local knowledge to pick the best waves out there as it's quite easy to get lost and find yourself in no man's land. I'm just taking this event heat by heat and hopefully I can make some more heats and do some damage."

Mike Clayton-Brown Local lad Mike Clayton-Brown opn his way to Finals Day. - WSL / Natalie Meredith

Additionally, Kalani Ball was another beneficiary of the amazing conditions, posting one of the top heat totals of the day highlighted by a 7.55 on his best wave. Ball looked in control from the outset, putting numbers on the board early to give himself a solid foundation to build on for the rest of the event.

"I'm feeling pumped to advance through to finals day in what was a great day of competition in some rippable waves," Ball said. "Finals day tomorrow is going to be exciting with so many top talents in the draw. I'm hoping I can come away with a solid result and keep building a foundation to qualify for the Challenger Series events that are set to start in May on the Gold Coast".

Kalani Ball Kalani Ball will be looking for a solid result at Port Stephens tomorrow. - WSL / Natalie Meredith

Micah Margieson continued his charge towards the finals today, progressing through his Round of 64 and Round of 32 heats in commanding fashion. The stylish young natural-footer posted solid scores back-to-back to lock in a spot on finals day for the first time in 2022. In his Round of 32 matchup, Margieson progressed behind youngster Lennix Smith who posted a 15.10 two-wave total, the second highest of the event so far.

Other surfers to advance through the Round of 16 included Axel Rose-Curotta (North Steyne), Joel Vaughan (North Shelly) and Reef Heazlewood (Sunshine Coast). Special mentions also went to Kobi Clements for the highest single wave of the event so far, a 9.00 point ride, and to Gold Coaster Mitch Parkinson for his 15.50 two wave total. The highest of the event so far.

Micah Margieson Micah Margieson will lock in his biggest result of the season tomorrow. - WSL / Natalie Meredith

Taking advantage of the crisp morning conditions and progressing through to the fourth round was Torquay surfer Angela Ball. The classy goofy footer was patient in her heat and waited for the best waves to come through. She secured two solid scores and will prepare to meet WSL Wildcard Paige Hareb (New Zealand), in-form Brittani Nicholl and fellow Victorian Ellie Harrison tomorrow.

"I'm really excited to be through to the fourth round here at Birubi, the waves were great today," said Ball. "I'm hoping I can continue this form, I've really been enjoying my surfing. I've been having an epic time travelling around with our little Victorian team for this series and am pumped for the rest of the events."

Other surfers to watch in the Women's Round of 16 include Freya Prumm (Merimbula) and local Philipa Anderson (Merewether) who take to the water against current Australia/Oceania Regional QS Rankings Leader Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head).

Competition is set to resume tomorrow morning at Birubi Beach for Finals Day with Women's Round 4 to kick off proceedings at 7:30 a.m. AEDT.

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