WOMEN’S QS6,000 OFF TO A FLYING START AT PORT STEPHENS TOYOTA PRO
The Port Stephens Toyota Pro has continued today with the main event, the Women’s World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6000 event hitting the water. Conditions settled for the second day of competition with Birubi Beach dishing up clean 2-to-3 foot surf for the completion of Rounds one and two.
With some of surfing’s biggest up-and-coming names on hand, the standout performance of the day went to young Australian Mia McCarthy. 19-year-old McCarthy posted an excellent 8.00-point (out of a possible 10) ride on her first wave of the day. It was the highest single wave score of the day and was earned for a solid display of backhand surfing. It was an impressive feat from someone who is competing in her first ever QS6,000.
“This is the biggest event I have competed in, so I was just having fun out there,” McCarthy said. “I was watching that bank before the heat and it looked like it had a fair bit of potential. It seems like I made the right choice. I’m stoked to be into Round 3 at this event, it would be so amazing to come up against one of the Championship Tour surfers as I look up to all of them a lot. I just want to keep having fun.”
Japanese competitor Nao Omura (JPN) was another standout on the opening day of the women’s competition posting the highest two-wave total of the event so far, a 15.44 (out of a possible 20). Omura was in sync with the small grinding lefthanders, fitting in turns where others couldn’t to convincingly progress through Round 3 alongside compatriot Ren Hashimoto (JPN).
“That was really fun out there,” said Omura. “I think the waves really suit my surfing today, so I hope they stay like this for the next few days. I surfed in this event last year and loved it. It is so great to be back. I’m not too concerned with my results I just want to get some good experience.”
Sara Wakita (JPN) had her work cut out for her when she came up against former CT competitor and World Junior Champion Laura Enever (AUS), Tia Blanco (PRI) and Jess Grimwood (AUS). While Grimwood and Enever found early scores, Blanco and Wakita waited till late in the heat to pounce on the top two spots with Wakita taking the heat and Blanco progressing in second spot, while the two Aussies are eliminated from the event.
“I was really nervous in the heat,” said Wakita. “All of the other surfers in that heat were so good and I struggled to compose myself – I don’t think I surfed my best so I feel lucky to have made it. It was tough to pick the right ones so I’m glad I got a few that allowed me to do turns.”
Big wave charger Felicity Palmateer (AUS) returned to Birubi to get back into the competitive swing of things after a short time out of the water recovering from a back injury. The stylish goofy-foot kept it simple for her first surf back in a while, only catching two waves to post her winning heat total of 11.60 for two long left-handers.
“It’s been a while since I’ve surfed in general let alone a contest,” Palmateer said. “I’ve had a bit of a back injury so this was actually my first surf in nearly two months. I thought as this is the last event of the year and it is in Australia I may as well enter it and see how I go. I love this zone, the waves are amazing and the beaches are beautiful so hopefully, the waves keep coming and we can have a fun few days.”
Be sure to tune in tomorrow as the live broadcast starts and the event top seeds hit the water in women's Round 3. A call will be made at 7:00 am local time.
The 2018 Port Stephens Toyota Pro will run from November 8 – 13. The event will be broadcast live from the 10th – 13th at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the free WSL App. Head here for more information, results, images and highlights.
The 2018 Port Stephens Toyota Pro couldn’t happen without the support of the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The event is also supported by Port Stephens Toyota, Port Stephens Council, AirAsia, Kaos Surf, PRD Nationwide, Wanderers Retreat, The Oasis Eco Retreat, Murrays Brewery, Surfing NSW and WSL.