The world’s best surfers have landed in Australia and are competing on the Gold Coast in the World Surf League Championship Tour season openers, the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
Cronulla’s only World Tour surfer, Connor O’Leary, has had a big week being awarded the Championship Tour rookie of the year at the WSL Awards night and is now preparing for his second year on the top stage.
The first stop on the 2018 CT will launch the highly-anticipated world title race at the famed break of Snapper Rocks. O’Leary surfed clean in round one against Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz and Australian rookie Wade Carmichael.
Unlike last year where he had a slow first heat, O’Leary got his points early, stayed busy then waited and delivered a knock out blow taking the heat with a score of 13.16 – 5.5 points higher then second-placed Carmichael-Connor is surfing today in heat 11 against Michel Bourez,a hard task.
After two good days of surfing for the women and mens round 2 , Kelly Slater withdrew citing a foot Injury and major surprises were the order of the day in elimination Round 2 in three-to-four foot surf conditions at the famed Snapper Rocks venue.
Further proving how unpredictable the 2018 season will be, a massive upset kicked off the first men’s elimination round of the year with current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW)eliminated by event wildcard Mikey Wright (AUS).
The result was just another milestone reached for Wright in 2018 in addition to his recent success at the Australian Boardriders Battle Final and Newcastle Surfest Qualifying Series 6,000 event. The young competitor has made it clear that he will work hard to reach the elite CT and join his siblings, Tyler and Owen Wright, by continuing to prove himself in the Qualifying Series tour, the pathway where surfers earn their way to the top competition ranks.
The women Semifinalists were decided in clean three-to-four foot waves. Now only four surfers remain in contention for the 2018 Roxy Pro Gold Coast title.
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)
Just like the mens and in what was undoubtedly the upset of the entire event, six-time Roxy Pro Gold Coast event winner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) was taken down by fellow Queenslander Keely Andrew (AUS). Six-time WSL Champion Gilmore looked in good touch throughout the day but fell victim to a slow ocean in Quarterfinal 4 waiting with priority until the final minutes, only to find a midrange score.
The swell has picked up and they are running round three this morning which should get good as the tide drops.
Cronulla surfers might not have Snapper waves but we did get a few nice waves over the last week- Sunday was the pick with almost everywhere 3-4 ft and nice conditions.
This morning the swell has kicked big time with solid 4-5 ft bombs on the exposed East facing beaches.Monday,Tuesday wasn't so good with a Sou-Easter doing some damage but Swellnet predicts stacks of great surf ahead, from just about every direction .
Light variable winds and sea breezes were expected today with 4 ft + waves, winds should also remain light on Thursday and Friday so conditions are shaping up to be quite nice with enough swell to keep everyone happy with a new swell due on Saturday.
I took todays pics at the Wall suck-up where all the water coming in has to find a spot to go out.
Finally Shane Holmes (Central Coast)and Sarah Baum (ZAF) have taken out the 2018 Vissla Central Coast Pro pres. by Slimes Boardstore, following a day of exciting action in clean three-to-four foot waves at Avoca Beach.
In the last QS for the season Central Coast native Shane Holmes fulfilled his goal of winning an elite Qualifying Series event, taking out the men’s final at home.