It’s been a challenging day at the Vissla and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 event with a tough east-southeast swell and onshore breeze at Avoca Beach.
The remainder of Women’s Round 1 and Men’s Round 2 were completed in three-to-four foot swell on the NSW Central Coast. The event continues to put Australia and New Zealand’s best surfers right in the limelight as they battle for a spot on the 2022 WSL Challenger Series.
Women’s action kicked off the day’s proceedings. They had to pull out their power surfing to raise scores in a mish-mash of waves and whitewater. There was heartbreak in the opening round for some who had high hopes of increasing their QS rankings.
These conditions showed the strength of the veterans. Putting on a clinic in her first round heat, former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Macy Callaghan (North Shelly) showed her extensive experience in the Avoca lineup to put forward two big scores in the opening seven minutes with an excellent range score 8.17 from a left hand wave. After falling off the CT last year, Callaghan looks lively and ready to contend again for a spot against the world’s best.
“I’m stoked that I could find a couple of good waves. It was tricky but fun out there, this is what the QS events are all about,” Callaghan said. “Events like today are such a good showcase of female surfing and an important stepping stone for many to try and make it onto the Challenger Series (CS) and then the Championship Tour. I’m really hoping to qualify for the Snapper Rocks Challenger event and then keep that momentum rolling to try and get back onto the top tour”.
Callaghan will now meet in form surfers Ellie Brooks (Gold Coast), Freya Prumm (Merimbula) and Shyla Short (Illawarra) in the second round of the Women’s draw which is set to feature tomorrow.
Another standout from the female draw was Queenslander Jahly Stokes who used her elite forehand rail game to get a first round heat win. Her performance putting her board on rail created big backhand maneuvers which held her in a good position to take the heat out. Stokes who is a Sisstrevolution athlete is in only in her second QS event, however looked like a competitive veteran out in the Avoca lineup with her strong surfing and smart wave selection.
“It’s great to be through a tough heat down here at Avoca against some amazing female talent,” Stokes said. “To be in my second QS event is a great experience in itself and with the support of my major sponsor Sisstrevolution I really wanted to try and do well in this event and get as much experience out of it as possible. I can’t wait for the rest of the event.”
Other surfers to advance through to Wednesday’s action included Port Stephens local Jasmine Sampson, Gold Coast pair Alyssa Lock and Ellie Brooks and Victorian dynamo Sage Goldsbury.
The top seeds in the Men’s field hit the water for the first time on Day 2 of action and they sure did not disappoint with major scores posted throughout the entirety of the round in bowly afternoon conditions.
McMasters Beach local Logan Steinwede was one of the surfers to keep his run of form going with a classy performance. The Central Coast surfer looked right at home out in the Avoca lineup having spent plenty of time here in competitions as a junior. Steinwede was rewarded for his prowess as he secured a 7.27 in the dying stages to clinch the heat win and push Byron Bay dynamo Kyuss King into second.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to be back competing at home and seeing all of Australia and New Zealand’s best surfers put on a show,” Steinweide said. “The community spirit down here is huge and I’m stoked that I’ve got a great support crew with me on the beach. I’m hoping to make a couple more heats and inch closer to that dream of qualifying for the CS events set to start in May.”
In one of the biggest matchups of the day we saw super coach Glenn ‘Micro’ Hall take on former CT wildcard Reef Heazlewood, Vissla Central Coast Pro event wildcard Koda Killorn (Maroubra) and QS mainstay Max Kearney (Gold Coast).
All four surfers went wave for wave throughout the entirety of the heat. It was the elite backhand surfing of Heazlewood that saw him come out victorious. The Sunshine Coast surfer will look to keep the ball rolling as he creeps closer to trying to lock in a spot back on the top tier tour.
“I absolutely love coming to Avoca and have enjoyed a range of successes and good waves over the years,” Heazlewood said. “The waves today have been challenging but also really rewarding if you can manage to get into one of the long running right handers. Luckily enough I was able to find two of those more bowly waves and lock in some scores that will give me some confidence going into the next few days of the event”.
In an entertaining matchup North Steyne surfer George Pittar didn’t put a foot wrong as he took out his second round heat with a near excellent 8.33 point ride that also created roar of support from the beach. The natural footer showcased his damaging forehand as he rolled into one of the cleaner waves of the day and got to work with a huge variety of manoeuvres. Towards the backend of the heat, Pittar found a solid backup wave putting his competitors behind the eight ball when time elapsed.
“It’s great to find a couple of solid waves out there in some tricky and ever changing conditions,” Pittar said. “It’s such a cool experience to be in these QS3,000 events against all the top guys. There’s never any easy heats and you’ve got to surf your absolute best to get through. I’m stoked to keep moving through the event and can’t wait for the rest of the experience of being here in this epic part of Australia”.
Surfers to also progress through to the third round included Gold Coast pair Jagger Bartholemew (Gold Coast) and Marlon Harrison (Gold Coast), Kalani Ball (Stanwell Park) and ex Championship Tour surfer and reigning event champion Matt Banting (Port Macquarie) and Stu Kennedy (Lennox Head).
Competition is set to resume tomorrow at Avoca Beach with Round 2 of the Women’s draw set to kick off the action at 7:30am.
*The QS runs from February through to May in 2022 and determines qualification into the Challenger Series (CS), which has eight events that run from May through to December 2022. Each regional tour has an allocation of nine men and seven women plus a regional wildcard for each that can qualify for the Challenger Series. (Read more about the WSL qualification pathway)
The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series was developed to support Australian and International surfers in gaining ranking points and prize money on the World Surf League’s Qualifying Series. Additionally, the month-long series provides an opportunity for surfers and visitors alike to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and everything the NSW coast has to offer.
2022 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series Event Schedule
· EVENT 3: Mad Mex Maroubra Pro POSTPONED WSL QS1000
· EVENT 4 Men: Vissla Central Coast Pro – WSL QS3000 14th – 19th March
· EVENT 4 Women: Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro – WSL QS3000 14th – 19th March