- WSL / Tim Hain

The 2024 Nias Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 event has continued today with more perfect conditions at Lagundri Bay. Competitors in the women's Round of 48, as well as the first 10 heats of the men's Round of 64, put on more epic performances in slightly smaller three-to-five-foot surf.

Joh Azuchi Joh Azuchi - WSL / Tim Hain

The Nias Pro QS 5000 has attracted a massive field of Asia, Australia and Oceania's best up-and-coming talent, but today, it was a former Championship Tour (CT) semi-retired veteran that stole the show. Continuing his form from the recent Krui Pro, Josh Kerr (AUS) posted the highest two-wave total of the day with a 16.16 (out of a possible 20). Kerr looked sharp on his alternative craft, even landing one of his signature ‘Club -Sandwich' maneuvers to earn an 8.83 (out of a possible 10) single wave score.

"I surf this wave in the Mentawais a lot called 'Four Bobs', and it has some similarities with this wave, but this one is definitely better," Kerr said. "It has the same playfulness at this size but this wave has more juice, so it gives you more freedom to push a bit harder. It's really fun. I just wanted to surf waves, but the main goal is to stay in the comp so I can still surf when the swell comes. I knew I had to get out there and get my froth on, so I just frothed out and had some fun. I feel like I've done so many of them over the years (club sandwich). Even though I don't do them that often, I surf a lot, so I feel like I can go to these moves every now and then. I gotta dig a bit deeper into the bag to find them, but they're still there."

Josh Kerr Josh Kerr - WSL / Tim Hain

Other standouts in the opening ten heats of the men's Round of 64 included Japanese hopeful Joh Azuchi (JPN), who won his heat with a short barrel and some super fast frontside turns to earn a heat total of 14.57. Local standout Justin Bu'ulolo (INA) put on a commanding display on home soil, laying down powerful turns and finding a deep tube to post a 15.17 heat total and win his heat to progress into the Round of 32 with fellow Indonesian Oney Anwar (INA).

Young Aussie goofy-footer Zane Assink (AUS) put on a backside tube-riding clinic to post a 9.17 on his way to winning Heat 8 over current rankings leader Jarvis Earle (AUS), who took the second progressing spot.

Ella McCaffrey (USA) is no stranger to the perfect waves of Indonesia, and it showed as she put together a solid heat, earning the highest single wave score of the women's Round of 48 with 7.50. McCaffrey surfed fast and turned in the critical section to earn a 14.17 two-wave total and progress into the seeded Round of 32.

"The waves have been barrelling the last couple of days, but this morning, I thought that making good turns would be the best option," McCaffrey said. "For a week now, I've been reading and trying to understand the wave here better, so this morning, due to the tide, it was time to do good turns. It's a dream here, as I always prefer surfing my front side to my backside, so yeah, Nias is one of my favourite waves for sure."

Ella McCaffray Ella McCaffray - WSL / Tim Hain

When asked about competing in an event outside her region, she replied, "I came here purely for the experience. My aim is to get back on the Challenger Series this year, so I need all the experience I can get. Competing here is just as challenging as competing in my region. I'm up against some great Australian and Japanese surfers, so yeah, if I can compete well with this crew, I'll gain a boost in my confidence."

Anne Dos Santos (BRA) won her heat with an impressive backhand barrel ride for a 7.33, while Aussie duo Holly Williams (AUS) and Charly Hately (AUS) also looked to be building momentum on their way to the Round of 32.

Anne Dos Santos Anne Dos Santos - WSL / Tim Hain

The 2024 Nias Pro QS 5000 and Pro Junior events will run at Lagundri Bay from June 8 to 15.

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