- WSL / Cait Miers

Day 3 of the 2023 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000 has seen another huge day of competition with the completion of the men's and women's Rounds of 64. The event's top seeds took charge with some massive scores going down at Cabarita Headland in pumping three-to-five foot surf.

Cabarita Headland Cabarita Headland was pumping for Day 3 of competition. - WSL / Cait Miers

The Round of 64 saw the return of the Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro reigning event winners Dimity Stoyle (AUS) and Kyuss King (AUS), with both competitors picking up where they left off, each scoring excellent rides on their way to heat wins. Stoyle posted an impressive 8.50 (out of a possible 10) for a single manoeuvre, with the judges eating up her huge close-out layback, earning her a spot in the Round of 32.

"I'm here to qualify for the Challenger Series in 2023," Stoyle said. "I have been doing some commentating for the WSL at the CT events, which has been pretty sick, but I'm keen to focus on myself and my surfing a bit this year. We've got a good run of regional QS events coming up, so I'm keen to compete in them and make my way to Snapper Rocks for the first event of the Challenger Series at the end of them. That's my goal right now."

Dimity Stoyle Dimity Stoyle dropping the hammer. - WSL / Cait Miers

The 2022 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro saw Kyuss King (AUS) take the most significant victory of his young career shortly before being sidelined with a back injury for the remainder of the year. Unable to compete at the Challenger Series level for most of the season, King is back and fighting fit, looking for another opportunity for a tilt at the elite Championship Tour. Today, he looked ready for the fight, posting the highest two-wave total of the event so far. King earned a two-wave total of 17.10 (out of a possible 20) thanks to a potent combination of smooth rail carves and fins-free re-entries.

"It feels good to be back competing and earning decent scores," King said. "To be honest, though, it just feels good to be back surfing in general. I had a lot of time out of the water over the last six to eight months, so I'm just stoked to be back doing what I love, and that's just being in the ocean and surfing. Competing is what we all do, but at the root of it all, it's surfing that we love, so it feels good to be back doing that and to make a heat with a good score is a bonus."

Kyuss King Kyuss King picking up where he left off. - WSL / Cait Miers

The men's Round of 64 saw all four New Zealanders take solid heat wins, including Korbin Hutchings (NZL), Kehu Butler (NZL), Billy Stairmand (NZL) and Former Championship Tour competitor Ricardo Christie (NZL). The four will join their compatriots Saffi Vette (NZL) and Paige Hareb (NZL) in the Round of 32 after they won their heats yesterday in the women's Round of 64. All six kiwis put on great performances, but it was the return to competition of Ricardo Christie (NZL) that caught everyone's attention.

"I'm over here to do this run of Aussie events as a bit of a personal challenge," Christie said. "I'm stoked to be out there again - it's been a while. I watched from the office last year, so it's good to be back competing and back in Australia catching up with everyone. For the last few years, I've honestly only been surfing when it's barreling, so I'm only recently back in the competitive mindset. I have done it my whole life, so it's a little bit of second nature. I'm stoked to be back."

Ricardo Christie Ricardo Christie back in a jersey and looking comfortable. - WSL / Cait Miers

Other solid performers on Day 3 included Alister Reginato (AUS) and Jaggar Bartholomew (AUS), who progressed through the same heat, each holding impressive heat totals. North Narrabeen's Kobi Clements (AUS) took a massive win in the Round of 64, which included an excellent ride, and Kalani Ball (AUS), who took a comfortable win on his way to the Round of 32.

Ben Lorentson (AUS) made a late charge to move from fourth to first in his Round of 64 heat, posting a 9.07 in the dying seconds, the highest of the event so far.

Event directors will reconvene at 6:30 a.m. local time tomorrow to make another call on competition with a likely 7:00 a.m. start time at Cabarita. The 2023 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro will run from February 10 - 16.

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