- WSL / Cait Miers

Competition has continued today at the 2023 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000 event with the completion of the men's Round of 96 and the opening round of the women's. Competition continued at Kingscliff with semi-clean waves in the two-to-four foot range.

Josh Kerr Josh Kerr winding back the clock at his old stomping ground. - WSL / Cait Miers

Former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Paige Hareb (NZL) was one of the big names to hit the water early on Day 2 of the QS event, and her performance didn't disappoint. Hareb's backhand attack looked sharp and that of someone who had competed at the elite level. The veteran progressed into the Round of 32 comfortably as she looks to get back onto the Challenger Series and have another tilt at the CT level.

"Compared to my warmup surf this morning, the waves in that heat just now were actually kind of fun," Hareb said. "The tide is coming in, and the wind has dropped, so there is less current and cleaner faces which is making the surf really fun. If you can get in the right place, the waves are really good. I'm coming into this year with not too many expectations and just focussing on having fun. I'm unsure how much longer is left in my journey, so I just want to ensure I'm having fun. I've been in the gym a bit more over the off-season and looking to improve my power, so it feels good to be rewarded for that."

Paige Hareb Paige Hareb taking a comfortable heat win. - WSL / Cait Miers

Heat 8 of the women's Round of 64 was the standout matchup of the event so far, as former CT competitor India Robinson (AUS) and French Youngster Tya Zebrowski (FRA) opened up proceedings with the first excellent wave scores of the event. First, Robinson found a long, growing wall on which she laid down her trademark frontside carves, earning an 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10). Then, Zebrowski followed suit, carving her way down the line to a massive closeout section which she smashed to earn an 8.50. She then backed it up for a heat total of 15.17 (out of a possible 20) to win the heat, with Robinson progressing with her in second.

Tya Zebrowski Tya Zebrowski was the standout perfromer on Day 2. - WSL / Cait Miers

The standout male performer of the day was another former Championship Tour veteran Josh Kerr (AUS), who has returned to his hometown on the Tweed Coast to make his first competitive appearance in almost five years. The former world No. 8 has donned the competition jersey once again for the chance to compete in the same event as his daughter Sierra, and he looked driven as ever, winding back the clock to post a solid heat total of 13.50 to progress into the Round of 64. Later in the day Kerr's daughter Sierra also advanced into the next round.

"It felt nice to put the rashie on in front of my family and get out there," Kerr said. "My mum, wife and daughter are all here so it was cool to surf a heat with them all watching on. I always get so nervous watching Sierra (daughter) compete, so it's funny having the role reversed. My daughter and I have always talked about competing in an event together, and we've finally done it. This one event made sense as it's my old stomping ground, having grown up on the Tweed Coast. I'm still super competitive these days but more so playing golf or cards so to do it in a rashie feels good."

Josh Kerr Josh Kerr getting some coaching from his daughter on the run around. - WSL / Cait Miers

Tweed surfer Dane Henry (AUS) utilised his local knowledge in one of the opening heats of the day, opting to sit wide and paddle against the current before swooping in on the set waves. Henry's tactics, accompanied by his lightning-quick frontside attack, saw him post two mid-range scores to win the heat and progress into the Round of 64.

"I paddled for like ten minutes straight before I got my first wave," Henry said. "I surf here a lot and am used to it, so I knew what to expect before my heat. In situations like that, it's always easier when everyone is in the same boat because we're all battling the same conditions. I had a good start to this event because I could compete in the pro junior here at Kingy and then into the QS event, so I feel like I had a good warm-up."

Dane Henry Dane Henry at home on the Tweed Coast. - WSL / Cait Miers

Event directors will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. local time tomorrow to make another call on competition with a likely 8:00 a.m. start time at Cabarita.

The 2023 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro will run from February 10 - 16.

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