International field flares on opening day of Flight Centre Burleigh Pro

An impressive international field has kicked off the opening day of The Flight Centre Burleigh Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event on the Gold Coast. With the anticipation building for an incoming swell over the weekend, event organisers ran only the first 12 heats of Men’s Round One in the small conditions on offer today. 

On his first visit to Australia, Gabriel Adisaka (BRA) from Brazil was excited to paddle out and surf a heat at the world famous Burleigh Heads. Although Day 1 wasn’t offering the ideal conditions, Adisaka utilised his positive energy to post a heat total of 13.50 to win the heat. 

“This is my first time here in Australia and I’m really excited,” Adisaka said. “The waves are hard out there today but the water is so nice and it is beautiful here so I’m having a good time. It looks like the waves are going to keep getting better over the next few days so I really want to keep making heats and still be competing on Finals day.” 

Japanese competitor Kaito Kurokawa (JPN) was the standout on Day 1 finding power in waves where others struggled, making the small weak conditions look like overhead powerful surf. With big bottom turns and powerful off the tops, Kurokawa posted and excellent 8.00 point ride and backed it up with a 7.25 for a heat total of 15.25, the highest of the event so far. 

“It is actually a lot more fun out there than it looks,” Kurokawa said. “I managed to find a few fun waves which was nice. I guess everyone is talking about the forecast ahead and it sounds like it could be really good. I’d be happy in any conditions as today worked me.“

Dakoda Walters (AUS) arrived at Burleigh looking for experience in his first ever QS event. With low expectations on his own performance, Walters was hoping to make a heat or two and get a few easy waves at Burleigh. It’s safe to say the young Aussie exceeded his own expectations winning his first ever QS heat with an awesome display of fins free surfing. 

“That was so much fun – even though the waves are tough it was really fun to surf my first QS heat and to win it is even better,” Walters said. “I knew there was going to be a swell for this event so thought it would be a good one to come and try and get some barrels. Today suited to me as I’m a bit smaller and lighter than the others so that was cool to have an advantage.”

Kiwi surfer Mackenzie Bowden (NZL) has recently relocated to Australia’s Gold Coast and was excited to compete at a QS in his new backyard. Although conditions were quickly deteriorating, Bowden did what he needed to move closer to the weekend Rounds, and the impending swell. 

“I knew it was going to be hard to find a couple of good waves out there so I focused on just getting one set wave,” Bowden said. “Once I locked in a mid-range score I knew I was in a good position to progress. I’m stoked to have made that heat an am pumped for the weekend, the forecast is looking great so the waves should become more and more fun over the coming days.

As the Northerly wind intensified, the small waves on offer today rapidly deteriorated and event organisers were forced to go on hold. The event will resume tomorrow at 7.00am AEST as officials look to complete Men’s Round One and beyond.
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The 2018 Flight Centre Burleigh Pro is proudly supported by Flight Centre,  Stockland Burleigh Heads, Telstra, Bruce Lynton Land Rover, Burleigh Heads Hotel, Australia’s Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, Queensland Government, HIF, Australia Skin Cancer Clinics, It’s Live Queensland, The Wandering Bar Co, Coastalwatch, SEA FM, Pages, Surfing World Magazine, SurfAid, WSL and Surfing Queensland.