- WSL / Lucy Callister

The 2023 Gold Coast Open pres. by Cocobella World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 has seen a massive day of competition, with more than 20 heats completed in clean, one-to-two foot surf at Burleigh Heads. The stage is set for Final's Day with the completion of the women's Round of 16 and the men's Round of 32.

Some of Australia and Ocenaia's best surfers made light work of the clean one-to-two foot surf at Third Avenue, Burleigh Heads. Today's action saw a mixed bag of results, with many of the events big names eliminated and underdogs rising to the occasion. The morning saw the men's Round of 64 light up the waves before moving into the women's Round of 16 and finishing the day with the men's Round of 32.

Central Coast surfer, Joel Vaughan (Bateau Bay), was one of the most exciting surfers of the day. During his heats, he entertained the large Burleigh crowds that flocked down to the Gold Coast to celebrate the return of professional surfing. Vaughan posted the highest two-wave total of the day, 15.84 (out of a possible 20) and said he's fired up for tomorrow.

"I just tried to stay busy and catch lots of waves which I guess paid off," said Vaughan. "I didn't focus on my wave selection because it was hard to know which ones were going to hold. On that 9, I just got pretty lucky! It doubled up and gave me some good sections to crack. My boards have been feeling really good under my feet, so I'm fired up for tomorrow."

Joel Vaughan Joel Vaughan. - WSL / Lucy Callister

New Zealand surfer Kehu Butler was one to watch, showcasing his consistency and posting high heat totals in both the Round of 64 and 32. Butler put on an incredible display of speed and power on his frontside, with huge carves and committed closeout. He'll be one to watch tomorrow.

In-form surfer in the women's division was Zahli Kelly (Casuarina), who locked her spot in the Quarterfinal. Kelly found her rhythm early in the heat and kept improving on her scores as the heat continued.

"The surf was tricky, so I just tried to catch more waves to give myself plenty of opportunities," said Kelly. "I managed to get a left at the end of the heat and get some decent hits which felt really good. I'm excited for final's day tomorrow; even though the waves are small, it's still heaps of fun." Another standout in the women's division was Tru Starling (North Narrabeen), who also advanced through to final's day.

"The waves were challenging however, there's still plenty of opportunity out there," said Starling. "The Gold Coast Open is always a staple on my event calendar. I love competing at Burleigh and being around all the fun energy on the point - it always seems to fire me up to get a decent result."

Tru Starling Tru Starling. - WSL / Lucy Callister

Tomorrow we'll see the final day of the 2023 Gold Coast Open, presented by Cocobella. Come on down to Burleigh Heads to see the competitors pack on the heat and crown our event champions after finals, make your way down to The Point for some live music, food trucks, and a beach bar, thanks to Travla.

The 2023 Gold Coast Open, presented by Cocobella, will run from February 17 - 19.

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