COMPETITORS MAKE LIGHT WORK OF TRICKY SURF AT THE VISSLA AND SISSTREVOLUTION CENTRAL COAST PRO.
Moderate onshore winds and a slight drop in swell size has seen competitors at the Vissla and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro dealing with tough conditions on day three of competition. Regardless of this, some of the world’s best put on more show-stopping performances, setting up an epic weekend of surfing at Avoca.
Kiwi competitor Billy Stairmand set a rampant pace from the first heat of the day posting the highest two-wave combination of the event so far, a 16.50 for some epic frontside power hooks. Fresh off a semifinal finish at the Mothernest Great Lakes Pro QS1,000, Stairmand is feeling fresh and ready to make a statement during this year’s Aussie leg.
“It’s good to be back competing in Australia,” Stairmand said. “I’ve started the year off in a good position with a ninth and a third at the first two events so I’m feeling really good and have some great equipment. There are a lot of big names in this event but I have had plenty of experience surfing against the Championship Tour guys so I feel like that will help me as I progress through this event.”
Perennial qualification threat Mitch Coleborn (AUS) finds himself with a lower seed in 2019 after missing a few major events last season. The super talented goofy-footer is in need of a few solid results in the next three events if he’s a chance of mounting a campaign for the 2020 Championship Tour. Fortunately for Coleborn he was able to pull some last-second heroics to take the win and progress into round four.
“I’ve got a really low seed this year so there is a lot riding on my results at these next few events,” Coleborn said. “The waves got really tough to read in that heat so things definitely didn’t go to plan but I lucked into a decent one at the end and got two turns away. Currently, I’m sitting too low on the rankings to surf in the QS10,000 events which is the first time in a long time for me so I’m really keen to get a big result here and start the year well.”
Having recently fallen off the elite Championship Tour last season, California’s Sage Erickson (USA) is looking for a massive result at Avoca to get her re-qualification campaign underway. The former top 10 surfer is familiar with the Central Coast spending half her year at nearby Copacabana Beach with her boyfriend each year. This comfort and familiarity shone through as Erickson posted a 15.67 heat total to progress into round four.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time in this area for the last 10 years so it feels like a second home for sure,” Erickson said. “The waves back in California haven’t been great for the last few weeks so I’ve been so excited to get down here and surf. I think that excitement definitely came through in my surfing during that heat – it felt really nice to post some bigger numbers to start the year off.”
2017 Championship Tour Rookie of the Year Bronte Macaulay (AUS) got her 2019 season off to a great start, taking out heat nine of round three. Although Macaulay came away with the top progressing spot, she felt lucky to make it through her heat and into round four with 20-minute heats not giving the West Australian much time to post two scores.
“On the CT we have 30 or 35 heats so that 20 minutes just flew by,” Macaulay said. “It definitely wasn’t the start to the year I was hoping for but I’ll take the win. This is a pretty intense event as a good result could really help someone’s seasons which makes the field so much hungrier.”
16-year-old Central Coast native Molly Picklum (AUS) continued to build on the momentum that’s seen her claim two WSL Pro Junior victories in 2019, taking a win over 2019 Championship Tour surfer Paige Hareb (NZL) in round three. Picklum synced her powerful forehand repertoire with the punchy righthanders on offer, nailing a handful of exciting and powerful turns, which were duly rewarded with a decent 13.40 two-wave heat total. Picklum will now face Tia Blanco (PRI), Leilani McGonagle (CRI) and Ellie Brooks (AUS) in round four.
“Things definitely felt like they clicked in that heat,” said Picklum. “The righthanders that were breaking deeper on the bank began to pulse and I was able to find a few decent waves. I felt as though my earlier heats were a bit slower and I wasn’t able to find a rhythm, so to have a heat like that definitely helps my confidence.”
Local Sandon Whittaker (Avoca, NSW) claimed the AirAsia Wave Of The Day for a full-rotation air-reverse in his round three heat.
The elite six-day event will form the third and final stop on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series and will take place in Avoca Beach from the 27th February – 4th March 2019.
2019 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series Event Schedule
Event 1: Carve Pro QS1,000, Maroubra – January 23 – 26
Event 2: Mothernest Great Lakes Pro, Boomerang Beach – February 20 -24
Event 3: Vissla Central Coast Pro, Avoca Beach – February 27 – March 4
The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series was developed for Australian and International surfers to gain ranking points and prize money on the WSL Qualifying Series. The series also creates a NSW coastal road trip for all to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and enjoy NSW surfing culture.
The 2019 Vissla Central Coast Pro is happening right now in the Central Coast, with some of the world’s most promising surfers competing. Remember if you’re driving around the region in the event window #notxtnowrecksbought to you by Surfing NSW and supported by NSW Government Community Road Safety Grants program.
The 2019 Vissla Central Coast Pro is supported by the NSW Government. The event will also be proudly supported by Vissla, Sisstrevolution, Central Coast Council, AirAsia, H2Coco, Avoca Beach Hotel, Sea FM, WSL and Surfing NSW.