- WSL / Matt Dunbar

The GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Rip Curl, the second stop of the WSL Challenger Series, enjoyed solid conditions at Manly Beach today with groomed two-to-three foot waves running across perfect sandbanks. A beautiful Autumn day saw large crowds on the beach enjoying sunshine and a high performance day of competition with the first 19 heats of the men's Round of 96 on the menu.

Mixed Results For Former CT Competitors on the Challenger Series
GWM Sydney Surf Pro Day 4 Post Show: Challenger Contenders Set The Standard Early, Fresh Faces Drop Hammers
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From previous Manly stars such as Julian Wilson to the new guard in Crosby Colapinto, a dynamic field make their early moves in the Round of 96.

Australia Olympians Owen Wright and Julian Wilson found themselves on opposite sides of emotions in their respective debuts. While Wilson was able to take a confidence boosting win in his heat, Wright was unfortunately relegated to third position late in his heat and eliminated from the event. A former winner here at Manly, Wilson looked in good touch, even surfing on the board he competed on at the Tokyo Games last year.

"These waves on the Challenger Series are good and I'm enjoying getting back into competition," Wilson said. "Surfing four man heats is definitely a change to what I was used to and you really have to be hungry in the water to get the best waves and be prepared to fight for those waves but I'm becoming more familiar with the format and the waves here at Manly and feel like I can keep improving on my scores."

Alejo Muniz Alejo Muniz flexed his experience to unleash an excellent 8.00 on the way to a clutch, early heat win. - WSL / Beatriz Ryder

Another former CT competitor who looked in good touch within his opening heat at Manly was Brazilian representative Alejo Muniz. Muniz, another former winner here at Manly, has only just returned to the water after sustaining an injury whilst surfing earlier this year and has worked hard to get back for the CS season.

"I'm coming off an injury I sustained in Argentina a few months ago but I'm getting better quickly and no matter what I'll do my best regardless," said Muniz. ‘It's good to be competing here with my brother, we train together and advise each other before heats and it helps - I'll be here on the beach for him later today for his heat as well and hopefully the waves remain good."

Other former CT competitors that found success on Day 1 of competition included Ryan Callinan and Willian Cardoso who progressed whilst the likes of Jesse Mendes, Adrian Buchan and Frederico Morais where unable to move past the opening round in Sydney.

Ramiz Boukhiam Blasts Day's Top Performance, Matson Makes His Mark In Manly Debut
GWM Sydney Surf Pro Day 4 Highlights: CT Hopefuls Make Easy Work Of Rippable Manly, Plus Boukhiam And Matson Make Their Presence Known
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The heavy-hitting Moroccan Ramzi Boukhiam and San Clemente's Kade Matson earn excellent nods alongside Alejo Muniz in their prolific debuts.

Morocco's top CT prospect Ramzi Boukhiam continued to showcase his desire to join the world's best after a brilliant showing on the Gold Coast translated to a dynamic Manly debut. Boukhiam's 14.77 (out of a possible 20) heat total proved to hold as the day's best after setting the bar in the day's second heat as San Clemente, California's Kade Matson unleashed his backhand attack to notch an excellent 8.33 as the day's top single-scoring wave.

"I guess during my heat (the tide) just started to fill in and I had a lot of fun out there," said Boukhiam. "I used my priority well and I tried to stay busy, I guess. It was a good start to the day for me."

Matson's fellow San Clemente competitors Jett Schilling and Crosby Colapinto also notched their way into the Round of 48.

Joshe Faulkner and Adin Masencamp Send South African Hopes Into Round of 48
Joshe Faulkner Faulkner looks to join an elite list of names to qualify from South Africa. - WSL / Matt Dunbar

South African surfers Joshe Faulkner and Adin Masencamp both posted opening round heat wins today with Faulkner particularly impressive with a lively display of progressive surfing in his win over Cody Young. The pair will progress into the Round of 48 while their countryman Eli Beukes will unfortunately leave Manly with a first round loss.

"I'm super stoked to take that win," said Faulkner. "The last event on the Gold Coast I was eliminated by just one one hundredth of a point and that was disappointing so to win today makes me feel a lot better. There's three Sth Africans in the field, two of us have already won our heat today and hopefully Slade Prestwich can also win later today - We've traveled a long way to be here but it feels good right now!"

Jordan Lawler Jordan Lawler is searching for a big result following an early exit at Snapper Rocks and started with a big heat win in his Manly opener. - WSL / Beatriz Ryder

Also notching big results, local competitors Dylan Moffat and Jordan Lawler had the beach packed for their respective heats as Moffat started off the day in Heat 1 with plenty of support on tap. Moffat, advancing behind Ezekiel Lau, set the tone as Lawler went on to win his heat later in the day and treat local supporters with more to celebrate.

"It was good to pull that air reverse early in the heat and get a good score - It set me up straight away to focus on a back up score so it was an easy win in the end," Lawler said. "I live just around the corner and having won here in 2019 it feels good to be here surfing again with a lot of local support. I've learnt a lot surfing against the world's best in the past year and I just want to apply what I've learnt to the task and qualify for the CT 2023."

New Zealand's own Te Kehukehu Butler and Olympian Billy Stairmand both stamped their passage into the Round of 48 after an impressive start to their Manly campaigns.

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

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