- WSL / Lucy Callister

Burleigh Heads wildcard Isla Huppatz (AUS) and Lennix Smith (AUS) have claimed maiden QS wins at the 2023 Gold Coast Open presented by Cocobella World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event in one-to-two foot surf at Burleigh Heads. The pair overcame a massive field of Australia and Ocenaia's best up-and-coming surfers on their way to claim the top spot.

Isla Huppatz Isla Huppatz chaired to victory for the first time at the WSL level. - WSL / Lucy Callister

It was another glorious summer day on the Gold Coast, with small but rippable waves on offer for the final day of the event. The conditions were favourable in the morning, with little to no wind, creating a dream scenario to conclude the three-day event.

It was a fairytale finish for 15-year-old Burleigh Heads wildcard Isla Huppatz (Bilinga), who claimed her maiden WSL QS win. Huppatz, saving the best for last, took an early lead and went from strength to strength. Huppatz proved too strong for runner-up Tru Starling (AUS), posting the highest combined two-wave score (17.67) of the event.

"I'm so happy to win my first QS today and grateful for the support of Burleigh Boardriders, especially for the wildcard into this event," said Huppatz. "The waves were pretty tricky, but I just went out there to have fun and with no expectations of myself. My parents joked if I won, I'd have to shout them dinner, so I think I'll do that tonight."

Isla Huppatz Isla Huppatz. - WSL / Lucy Callister

Despite a slight afternoon sea breeze, Lennix Smith sliced and diced his way through the conditions with ease, dropping a 7.47 (from a possible 10) before finishing on a two-wave combined total of 14.47 (from a possible 20). It was an electric final between the men, with Smith finding his lead in the final minutes. Dakota Walters (AUS) was in great touch all event but couldn't find a backup score when it mattered and was left chasing a 7.40 for the win.

"I'm over the moon to win at Burleigh today," said Smith. "The waves were super challenging, but I was fortunate enough to find my rhythm. I've been trying to win an event for ages, so to do so in front of my girlfriend and family feels amazing."

Lennix Smith Lennix Smith. - WSL / Lucy Callister

Surfing Queensland CEO, Adam Yates, said the three-day event had been a significant success thanks to large crowds brought by spectacular weather, all excited to see the surfing action and enjoy the free activities.

"We've been able to expand on the footprint of this year's event due to moving the surfing component to Third Avenue, Burleigh Heads, to capture the southeast swell," said Yates. "It's been a great weekend for the Gold Coast region with so much to offer both spectators and competitors. From tourists to locals, everyone's been enjoying the Cocobella Chill-Out Zone, live music, pop-up beach bar by Travla and, of course, world-class surfing."

Head of Cocobella Marketing, Phoebe Miller, said it's been an incredible partnership and great seeing the Gold Coast community embrace the dairy-free product.

"As far as an event goes, we couldn't have asked for a better weekend," said Miller. "The beautiful weather has brought huge numbers down to Burleigh Heads, and we've captured the huge foot traffic it's brought with it. We're excited about the opportunity to get our product out and connect with the Gold Coast community. The feedback we've received about our yoghurt has been extremely positive! We're thrilled about the alignment with Surfing Queensland and proud to present the 2023 Gold Coast Open."

Lennix Smith Lennix Smith taking his first QS win. - WSL / Lucy Callister

In conjunction with the 2023 Gold Coast Open pres. by Cocobella, Burleigh Hill provided two jam-packed nights of entertainment. The free events including live music, food trucks, and a pop-up beach bar by Travla.

The 2023 Gold Coast Open presented by Cocobella is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It's Live! In Queensland events calendar.

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

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