- WSL / Abdel Elecho

Nias, Indonesia's premier righthander on the edge of Lagundri Bay, has delivered one of the most memorable days in World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) history today, turning on pristine surf for competitors at the 2024 Nias Pro QS 5000. Surfers in the men's Round of 32 dined out in cartoon-like, six-to-eight foot plus, stand-up barrels with over 50 excellent scores earned, 26 rides over nine, four perfect tens and one perfect heat. Today was a day that will go down in competitive surfing history.

Riaru Ito Riaru Ito with a 10 for the goofy-footers. - WSL / Abdel Elecho

On a day that witnessed 14 heat totals over 18.00, four of which were over 19.00 (out of a possible 20), Torquay's Xavier Huxtable (AUS) has stolen the show with a perfect heat, earning two perfect 10-point rides to claim victory on his way to the Round of 16. Huxtable found two of the biggest, thickest, steepest sets and pulled in deep on both, standing tall and getting spat into the channel to claim his historic win. In what was only just the heat of the event so far, Huxtable overcame Zane Assink (AUS), who progressed with a heat total of 18.90, whilst Lennix Smith (AUS) and Dylan Moffat (AUS) were both eliminated, albeit with excellent heat totals.

Huxtable's win came just moments after his best mate and fellow Torquay Boardrider Tully Wylie (AUS) won his heat with a two-wave total of 18.90. The powerful goofy-footer put on a backside tube-riding clinic as he looks to go one better than his runner-up finish at this event in 2023.

"I can't even explain it. I'm lost for words," Huxtable said. "I was just paddling out, watching my best mates in the heat before just trading kegs. I saw Tully (Wylie) get a couple 9's, Jack had 8's and 9's, Kerzy, Jarvis, everyone was scoring. I just wanted to get some, too. These are the best waves I've ever seen, I reckon. Obviously, I want to go on and win this thing, but regardless, the vision I had in those waves will be forever in my mind. Those were the best waves I've ever had in my life and it was in a heat. It's amazing. I can't even believe it."

Xavier Huxtable Xavier Huxtable. - WSL / Abdel Elecho

Along with Huxtable, Australian Kobi Clements (AUS) and Japan's Riaru Ito (JPN) also posted perfect rides. Clements, for a deep frontside tube while Ito scored his for a critical backhand takeoff before letting go of his rail and racing through the barrel with no hands.

The opening heat of the men's Round of 32 timed perfectly with the arrival of the new swell, and Japanese Challenger Series hopeful Joh Azuchi (JPN) wasted no time getting amongst it, posting a 19.77 two-wave heat total on his first two waves. Azuchi's first wave was a long, deep tube that he raced from behind the peak, whilst his second was a larger, heavier tube that allowed him to stand tall.

"That was the best heat I've ever had," Azuchi said. "I'm so stoked to get these barrels, especially in a competition. Once I got a nine at the start, I just relaxed and enjoyed myself. Then I got another one and another one. I'm so happy to have experienced this and it's even better to get the win."

Joh Azuchi Joh Azuchi - WSL / Abdel Elecho

Other special mentions must go to Axel Curotta (AUS) and Kyuss King (AUS), who progressed through Heat 2 of the Round of 32 with totals of 19.63 and 18.70, respectively.

Underground French expat living in Bali Nathan Monchet (FRA) was a standout in the pristine Nias tubes, not only because he posted an 18.80 two-wave total but because he did so on a twin-fin that he decided to ride last minute.

Filipino tube-riding aficionado John Mark-Tokong (PHL) claims today was the best surf he has ever seen, and with more pumping surf on the way, he was happy to book a spot in the Round of 16 with an impressive heat win, posting an 18.47 for his trademark poise in the pit.

Kyuss King Kyuss King - WSL / Abdel Elecho

"I haven't had a good result for a while, and my goal when coming here was to just make one round and then go from there," Tokong said. "This place reminds me so much of home, and in barreling waves, I feel really comfortable, but you still have to pick the right one because it's so perfect. I'm so happy to be here especially with the waves so pumping."

John Mark Tokong John Mark Tokong - WSL / Tim Hain

Earlier in the day, before the swell jumped, the competition saw the completion of eight Pro Junior heats to decide the men's Round of 32 and women's Semifinalists. Continuing her form from the Krui Pro Junior was Mirai Ikeda (JPN), who posted the highest heat total of the women's Quarterfinals with an 11.60.

"I'm really happy to make that heat," Ikeda said. "I did well at Krui, and I really like this wave here, too, so I'd like to do well here. I'm just happy to keep improving."

With more of the same conditions forecasted for tomorrow, it's bound to be another epic day of competition when the event resumes.

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

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