Pro surfers were pleasantly surprised with cleaner conditions and a solid swell this morning ahead of a short but sweet day of action at the Vissla and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro presented by Mad Mex World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 event.
The third day of competition saw the event draw closer to the pointy end in clean and oily three-to-four foot surf at The Pines, Avoca Beach. The third round of the Men's draw was completed whilst the second round of Women's action came to a close as surfers took advantage of the steeper waves in a bid to secure a spot in the Quarterfinals.
Continuing his run of form from yesterday, local Central Coast surfer Ryan Slattery was able to show off his powerful rail game in the clean conditions. Slattery knocked out established company in Sunshine Coast pair Championship Tour (CT) wildcard Reef Heazlewood and current Australia / Oceania Regional rankings number six Alister Reginato. Slattery kept his momentum rolling through today's proceedings, putting on a stellar performance in the third round to book a spot in the Round of 16. The Toukley surfer is competing in his first event of the year at the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series however didn't look like he was lacking any sense of heat inexperience as he set the water spraying with strong scores.
"It's great to make heats just down the road from home at an amazing beach like Avoca," Slattery said. "I'm only about 40 minutes up the road so to not have to travel too far and have the comfort and wave knowledge of a neighbouring area is really awesome. I'm looking forward to the next few days and hopefully I can continue to get some heat wins and chalk up some experience in my first event of the year."
Another major beneficiary of the steep and opportunity rich conditions was George Pittar (North Steyne) who utilised his classy forehand attack to thrive in his third round heat posting the highest heat total of the round. Pittar continued his smart heat strategy only catching a small number of waves, however his best two made up a solid total that his fellow competitors couldn't match.
"I'm stoked to keep my momentum rolling from yesterday and get a heat win in some fun conditions," Pittar said. "To surf against these top tier talents is a great experience in itself and to continue to make heats in these pumping waves is something that I'm very excited about. It's also very motivating to watch a lot of my fellow North Steyne competitors making heats in this event and that's most definitely giving me an extra lift."
Other surfers to progress into the Quarterfinals in the Men's draw included Jacob Wilcox (Margaret River), Billy Stairmand (New Zealand) and Jordin Watson (Culburra Beach).
Hitting the water just before lunchtime, the Women's second round did not disappoint with surfers locking away solid numbers to book themselves a spot in tomorrow's action packed day. The top seeds in the draw flexed their superior surf skills and showed us why they've earned their stripes on the QS.
It was no surprise that Central Coast CT surfer Molly Picklum was front and center of the elite surfing, posting some major numbers to set herself up with a spot in the third round. Picklum was able to pick up where she left off from the first few days of action, posting an 8.00 point ride in her second round heat to give herself a big boost as we get towards the pointy end of the event. The Central Coast surfer bided her time in the lineup and was able to strike a range of critical maneuvers on both her rides.
"I'm stoked to be through another heat down here at Avoca and surf against some of my best friends including Kobie Enright who I have been very close with for a long period of time," Picklum said. "It's such a funny experience surfing against ladies that you've been friends with forever and then trying to put the competition head on as you try not to get distracted. Hopefully I can make some more heats and continue to enjoy my time down here before the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event."
Picklum will now meet formerCT surfer Dimity Stoyle (Gold Coast), current Australia / Oceania Regional Rankings leader Nyxie Ryan (Lennox Head) and up and coming star Gia Lorentson (Noosa) in the first heat of tomorrow's action.
Ryan had her hands full in her second round matchup, however she was able to clinch a spot in the next round with a second place as Zahli Kelly (Tweed Coast) reigned supreme with powerful forehand surfing. She had the highest score of the heat being a 7.33 however, the classy natural footer in Kelly was able to net a strong two turn combination for a mid-range score at the end of the heat to give her a buffe. A multiple time QS winner, Kelly looks as hungry as ever to try and secure a spot on the Challenger Series and inch closer to a CT debut which she has been so close to securing on numerous occasions.
"The conditions are really fun out here today at the pines beach break at Avoca and I'm grateful that I was able to nail a couple of waves at the end and get a heat win," Kelly said. "I've got a really strong support crew behind me throughout these NSW Pro Surf Series events and I'm hoping I can do them proud and try and achieve my event goal while they endure the clean up from the floods all along the east coast."
Notably, Sophie McCulloch (Sunshine Coast), Paige Hareb (New Zealand) and Macy Callaghan (North Shelley) were also able to book their spot in the Round of 16.
Competitors will reconvene at Avoca Beach at 7:30 am for the QS 3000 event as well as the beginning of the Central Coast Pro Junior. The Round of 16 in the Women's division will kick off the day.