Cabarita Point has turned on for Day 2 of the 2022 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 event. Australia and New Zealand's best up and coming female competitors dined out in pumping three-to-four foot surf at Cabarita on the picturesque Tweed Coast.
The standout performance of the day went to 15-year-old prodigy Sierra Kerr who posted the highest single wave score of the event so far. Kerr's 8.50 came from a single manoeuvre, a front-side straight air that was reminiscent of something her father, ex-Championship Tour star Josh Kerr, would have done in a jersey not so long ago. Spending her time between California and Australia, Kerr is a product of the Tweed Coast who made her WSL debut at Cabarita less than a year ago with a Quarterfinal finish at this exact event. Today her affiliation with the area continued to strengthen as she completed her best aerial to date in a contest jersey.
"Usually this wave is a bit fat and hard to do airs on but that one just had the perfect wall so I thought, ‘I may as well just chuck an air'," Kerr said. "I was already in the lead so thought I'd just send it. I haven't landed too many in comps - that was probably my best yet, so I'm stoked. It's sick to be back competing on the Tweed Coast - last year was my first event on WSL and I made a few heats so it's good to be back. I was born near here then moved to California so I love coming back, - it really feels like my home."
Another young woman pushing progressive surfing in a contest jersey is local competitor Zahli Kelly who took out her opening heat at her local beach this morning. Kelly, who gave up her spot on the Challenger Series in 2021 to focus on year 12 is excited to put all of her attention into competition in 2022 and after a slow start to the season she seems to be finding her feet whilst competing in her backyard.
"That was so fun out there," Kelly said. "It felt just like I was having a free surf but with only four of us out. Once I had a couple of scores I knew I could go for something big and if I fell it wouldn't matter. I got kind of close to landing my last attempt - it was the perfect section so I'm hoping for a few more of them during the week. I'm really excited about this year and am keen to give it a real crack. I've had a few poor results on the regional QS this year so I'm hoping to reset here this week and lock in some solid points ahead of Newcastle."
Fresh off a Quarterfinal finish at the recent Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro at Avoca, former Championship Tour competitor Dimity Stoyle is looking to solidify herself a spot on the 2022 Challenger Series and find her way back to the elite level by 2023. The Sunny Coaster looked in great rhythm with the long point break walls as she posted a solid heat win to progress into the Round of 32 where she will take on another Former CT competitor in Macy Callaghan along with Tru Starling and Round 1 standout, Ellie Brooks.
"The waves are actually pumping out there," Stoyle said. "I had so much fun out there - the bank is amazing. I turned up to the QS1,000 events earlier this year just completely not ready and thought I could make a few heats easily which wasn't the case at all. I took the last event a lot more seriously and am doing the same here so I can hopefully lock myself a spot in the Challenger Series. It's pretty easy to motivate yourself when the waves look like this."
Another former CT competitor that was loving the condition at Cabarita today was Keely Andrew who is searching for her first big result of 2022. Andrew's frontside power and finesse was a perfect match for the low tide conditions as she booked herself a spot into the Round of 32 as she looks to get back on track after an injury plagued off-season.
"I had to try and calm myself down a bit because I was getting over excited with how good the waves looked," Andrew said. "These are like the funnest waves I've surfed in a QS event which makes it not even feel like a competition. I've had a pretty average off season with a bunch of injuries and just feeling like my body was falling apart so it's so nice to be back in the jersey, feeling good and surfing heats. I've really got to be on my toes with all of these young girls at the moment - there's a lot of talent in the draw which makes it super fun."
Continuing the trend of Sunny Coasters who put on a show in the Opening Round was Sophie McCulloch who posted the highest two-wave combination of the event so far with a 14.00 out of a possible 20. Other standouts included Marie Moana Troja, Ellie Harrison, Alyssa Lock, Sage Goldsbury and Paige Hareb to name a few.
Event organisers will reconvene at Cabarita Headland tomorrow morning at 7:30 am local time to call on competition with the remaining heats of Men's Round of 64 likely to commence proceedings.
The Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro is supported by the NSW Government's Regional Events Acceleration Fund which supports events in regional areas, where they will have a positive impact on local economies, along with Oakberry Acai, Harvey Norman, Bond University and Tweed Shire Council.
The upcoming Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro will run on the beautiful Tweed Coast from March 21 - 27 2022.