- WSL / Cait Miers

The GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Rip Curl, the second stop of the WSL Challenger Series and the opening event of the WSL Longboard Tour has continued today with the Longboard Semifinalists being decided in super clean two-foot surf at Manly Beach. It was an interesting day of competition with a number of close heats seeing the cream rise to the top with the top seeds all finding their way through to Finals Day.

Hawaiian Duo Set The Pace at Manly Beach
GWM Sydney Surf Pro Day 3 Highlights: Stewart Slides To Near-Perfection, Calmon Creates More Excellence
Kani Stewart shines as the man to beat, Skinner continues surging, plus WSL Longboard Champs Blomfield and Errico, contender Calmon, and local White all into finals day.

Hawaii's Kaniela Stewart has staked his claim as the one to beat at Manly beach, booking himself a spot in the Semifinals with the two most emphatic heat wins of the event so far in the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals. In his first heat of the day, Stewart overcame Brazilian competitor Augusto Olinto with an outstanding 17.20 (out of a possible 20) two-wave total - the highest of the event so far.

Stewart then backed it up in his Quarterfinal matchup against good friend and mentor Kai Sallas with Stewart posting another excellent heat total to progress into the semifinals. Stewart's combination of poise and grace on the nose along with smooth rail-to-rail transition is being rewarded and it will take a big performance from ## to stop him in their Semifinal matchup on Finals Day.

Kaniela Stewart and Kai Sallas Stewart and Sallas, student and mentor, sharing their last wave of the Quarterfinals onto the sand. - WSL / Beatriz Ryder

"I've looked up to Kai Sallas all my life and he's taught me so much about Longboard surfing and I even ride his board designs so it was amazing to surf against him in the Quarter Final" said Stewart."I've come out on top in that heat and I'm looking forward to finals day - We have a few days off before finals day now so I'll try and see some of the great sights of this beautiful city and get more great waves each day as well."

Honolua Blomfield Blomfield now finds herself into three-consecutive Semifinals dating back to 2021. - WSL / Beatriz Ryder

Fellow Hawaiian and reigning three-time WSL Longboard World Champion Honolua Blomfield continued her run to the Finals, progressing through her quarterfinal matchup with another Hawaiian in Sophia Culhane. Blomfield and Stewart are the sole Hawaii representatives left in the draw and both look a strong chance of going all the way when the LT competition resumes early next week.

Surfer, Shaper Ben Skinner Flies the Flag for Great Britain into Finals Day
GWM Sydney Surf Pro Day 3 Post Show: Style Masterclass Provides Magic In Manly, Finals Day Awaits
More excellence from Chloe Calmon, Errico overcomes fellow WSL Longboard Champion Tilly, plus a 9.20 from Kani Stewart and Harrison Roach's clutch surfing create a highlight reel.

WSL Longboard Tour veteran Ben Skinner is one of the few competitors left at the World Tour level that competes on boards that he shapes himself, an artform that is as impressive as it is a throwback. Skinner's boards seem to be doing the trick as the Englishman took down former World Champion Phil Rajzman in the Round of 16, then Jefson Silva in the Quarterfinals to progress into the Semifinals. For a powerful surfer, Skinner looked at home in the smaller surf at Manly, channeling the waves back home in Fistal on his way to consecutive heat wins.

"I'm loving it here at Manly Beach, this is like the best day at my home beach Fistal in the UK," Skinner said. "I shape my own boards and I'm obviously very happy with my equipment. I stayed busy throughout that heat and that was a good strategy and I can now look forward to finals day."

Local Hopefuls Keep Home Crowd Happy at Manly Beach
Declan Wyton Declan Wyton capitalized on the hometown support and joins fellow local Tully White into finals day. - WSL / Cait Miers

Local favorites Tully White and Declan Wyton continued to storm their way towards the Finals, both posting some of the highest two-wave totals of the day in front of their home crowd to find themselves a spot in the Semifinals. For many longboard enthusiasts, these performances were a long time coming with the pair turning heads in the Longboard world for a long while now.

"I'm super happy to make the Semi Finals, I've only ever made the Semi's once before and to do it in front of my family and friends at my home beach is really special" said Tully White. "I watched fellow Manly surfer Declan Wyton win his heat earlier and that really got me excited before my heat and right now it feels great - there's quite a bit of work ahead to make the final or even win but right now I'm feeling great."

A 6:45 a.m. AEST call will determine a possible 7:05 a.m. AEST start to the GWM Sydney Surf Pro.

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