Finals day delivered good waves and results for Sutherland Shire surfers at the Vissla Great Lakes Pro, a QS 1,000-rated World Surf League event.
Boomerang Beach produced clean three-foot waves for an action-packed day that saw Cronulla surfers right in the mix. Jackson Baker (Merewether) and Holly Wawn (Newport) took control of finals day to claim impressive wins and go into the up and coming QS 6,000 events in red-hot form.
Cronulla’s Jared Hickel did all the work getting to the hard-fought final and he waited patiently for a set wave but it never arrived. Baker, who beat Cronulla’s great right hope Shane Campbell in the quarters, took advantage after he posted a 9.00 point ride right off the hooter gifting him his third QS victory and second win in a week.
Although Hickel came just short in the final it was still part of his plan to surf as many heats as possible. The Cronulla local will head to Newcastle Surfest with the momentum he needs to solidify a spot in the top 100 of the WQS rankings.
“I’m really happy to start the year with a second place finish,” Hickel said.
“It is always pumping here at this event so it’s nice to have great waves in a contest. I wanted to get some solid heat practice at this event leading into the QS 6,000s so I’ve achieved my goal for sure. I’m hoping to continue this year with some more results and this is a great start so I’m stoked.”
Meanwhile Baker said he couldn’t feel any better.
“I was so stoked to win on the Tweed Coast and have success this early in the year but to go back-to-back is such a dream run,” he said.
This leaves the two Cronulla WQS competitors in great positions going into the next two big 6000 point contests at Newcastle and Manly.
Hickel has now jumped up into 11th place on the world qualifying series with Shane Campbell sitting in 14th. And with good seedings to come, more points equals better position.
Cronulla surfers have just been hanging in over the last week with small waves on offer,but all that is going to change,
This 2/3ft dribble will stay with us until Thursday and then Swellnet reckons the forecast shows a perfect Nor East Cyclone swell on the way.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita formed in the Tropical South Pacific on Friday afternoon, and has since strengthened to category 4 status heading for cat 5 whilst undertaking an impressive southward curve before going back again to the west-this is a very large, extremely powerful cyclone entering our far E/NE swell window, with an expected forward track that is as-good-as-it-gets for long range groundswell potential.
In short there are waves coming so get ready-Thursday the swell will slowly turn up,building Friday and then welcome to the weekend, 6-8 ft bombs away!
In some groundbreaking news,Kanoa Igarashi, 20, will represent Japan heading into the 2018 World Surf League CT season. A dual citizen of Japan and the United States, Igarashi decided to change his representing country as he eyes the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which will include surfing for the first time.
“I am proud to surf for Japan. My parents are Japanese, my whole family is Japanese. I have a lot of support and fans over there. We do not have any Japanese surfers on the CT, so it is something for them to cheer for and have that part in the WSL. I am sure they are really excited, and I am looking forward to it. My family is stoked.”Kanoa said
With this change, Igarashi becomes the first competitor to officially represent Japan on the WSL CT-more to come I am sure.
In somewhat of an anti climax, Lucas "Chumbo" Chianca (BRA) won the World Surf League Big Wave Tour Nazaré Challenge after some subdued performancesat the Praia do Norte (North Beach) big-wave break in Nazaré, Portugal.
The second-ever BWT event at Nazaré ran over two days after dangerous conditions threatened the competitors following the opening heats on Saturday.
They moved it up the beach and it looked like bad Escondido-Big Wave Tour Commissioner Mike Parsons, alongside the judging panel, rated conditions a Bronze coefficient with wave faces in the 25 ft category.
Hard to watch,but this weekend it will be hard not to watch!