The men's Burton Automotive Pro was put on standby as the women hit the water for the Burton Automotive Women's Classic. The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series QS1000 event hosts a field of exciting up-and-coming surfers who put on an impressive show for Newcastle's surf fans.
Maud Le Car (FRA) was by far the standout surfer of the day, amassing the two highest heat totals of 18.60 in Round 2 and 18.70 in Round 3. Le Car timed every turn and carve to perfection while combining fins-free snaps and rail carves.
"I'm happy because I never get scores that high," Le Car said. "In Manly I got one of the lowest heat totals of the event and I was really frustrated. I think I'm doing better here because the lower rating means there's no stress for me. I'm also learning how to express myself in my surfing better and having fun."
Holly Wawn (NSW/AUS) put together an impressive heat to advance to Round 4 of competition, blasting her way to a near-perfect 9.60 and earning a backup score of 7.83. Wawn is currently ranked No. 28 on the QS rankings and is well on her way to another result in Newcastle.
"I'm pretty happy with the way I'm surfing at the moment," Wawn said. "I've been doing a lot of contests lately and I'm into a bit of a routine and it's been working today. At these QS events there's always girls I don't know and you don't know how good they surf, so you can't think about them you really just have to go out and try to get the best waves and focus on yourself."
Mikaela Greene (WA/AUS) combined smooth wrapping turns and carves to easily win through to Round 4 of the Burton Automotive Women's Classic. Greene is having a great start to her competitive season and is currently ranked 19 on the QS.
"The conditions can be tricky, but there's some fun waves if you can find them," Greene said. "The forecast is looking solid so I brought my whole quiver over - I'm originally from WA so I'm used to big surf. I was here the time that we ran in the harbor and the waves looked so fun so I hope we're back there this weekend."
Kirra-Belle Olsson (NSW/AUS) is on a roll at her first ever QS event, winning both her Round 2 and 3 heats. Olsson received the event wildcard and she has risen to the challenge, at 14 years of age she is beating older and more experienced competitors.
"To make heats in my first QS feels really good," Olsson said. "I was really nervous coming up against all these girls, they were all ripping so I'm really excited to be into the next round. I was watching from the beach and the surf looked really hard, but when I got out there it was way better than I thought."
Hometown hero Philippa Anderson (NSW/AUS) also advanced in impressive fashion, using her fast and progressive approach to clock up some solid scores. Anderson will now take on Jaleesa Vincent (AUS), Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS) and Kaleigh Gilchrist (USA) in the next Round.
"I've been away a lot this year so it's amazing to be at home," Anderson said. "In between my two heats today I was able to go home and lay in my bed - you don't get the opportunity to do that very often and it felt really good. I'm not sure how many events I'm going to do this year. I'm booked to go to the next event in New Zealand, if I can get some prize money then I might be able to afford to do the next one."
Officials are still tracking a solid swell looming on the horizon that has the potential to see the 30th Anniversary of Newcastle's Surfest finish in epic conditions.