PHOTOS

Cronulla's Connor O'Leary will return to the World Surf League Championship Tour in 2020

Cronulla has another surfer on the World Surf League Championship Tour after Connor O'Leary re-qualified after a year on the World Qualifying circuit.

The Elouera Boardriders number one surfer did it the hard way, sitting in seventh position with one 10,000-point contest remaining last week.

Dipping out in round four at the Sunset World Cup meant O'Leary didn't get any extra points to add to his 19,650 tally. He then had to play the waiting game. Historically, 20,000 points has been enough to qualify and, after the dust settled, he finished in ninth position, one place above the cut.

Australia's Jack Robinson won the Vans World Cup of surfing, jumping a dozen spots to also qualify for next year's World Tour.

O'Leary became the sixth Cronulla surfer to qualify for the top tier of world surfing after winning the qualifying series in 2016. The rookie of the year in 2017 finished 13th, the third best result for a local surfer after 1999 world champ Mark Ochillupo and number eight-ranked Richard 'Dog' Marsh.

World Tour: Cronulla's Connor O'Leary wins the Carve Pro at Maroubra Beach earlier this year and (inset) arriving home. Picture: John Veage

World Tour: Cronulla's Connor O'Leary wins the Carve Pro at Maroubra Beach earlier this year and (inset) arriving home. Picture: John Veage

The dream came crashing down in 2018 after he fell off the tour but he got back on the horse in 2019, winning two contests back to back to set himself up for the year ahead.

O'Leary looked right at home surfing at Sunset this week and said it was hard not to think about re-qualifying.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about it a lot [re-qualifying]. With everyone talking about it, I just grab my board and go surfing," he said.

"You just have to get two good waves in 30 minutes over here and I've been stoked to get a couple of clean ones."

Celebrations commenced in the O'Leary household after the result with Connor's mother, Akemi, too nervous to watch it live, fighting with the calculator right up to the last stressful minute.

Connor was greeted on his arrival home with an impromptu surprise night at Northies by his family, friends and EBC clubmates welcoming him back on to the World Tour.

Ryan Bridges Elouera club President said EBC are super proud of Connor and what he's been able to achieve in 2019, relaxed, positive, quietly determined and with a smile on his face.

"What made this year more impressive was the way he moved on from the disappointment of being knocked off tour in 2018 - that was tough after bursting onto the scene in such an amazing way. It shows his strength of character - which comes from having a great family, club and community behind him.

"For an area like Cronulla with such a strong surfing history and culture, it's really special to have someone local competing at the top level - he represents us, where we come from and what we do."

Southerly winds making it hard work this morning.Picture John Veage

Southerly winds making it hard work this morning.Picture John Veage

If you could see through the smoke haze this week Cronulla did have some surfable waves on offer-but you also had to negotiate with the strong onshore,nor-east winds.

Those strong nor-easters did swing the south swell around after last weekends solid offerings with yesterday's 3 ft north wind-swell pushing through Bate Bays open water and onto the southern reefs.

The forecast isn't too good with yesterdays afternoon southerly blow turning that short period north swell back to the south this morning and leaving us with some bigger waves but also with three days straight of strong on-shores-which will blow until it goes almost flat for the weekend.

Billy Kemper The surfer from Maui prepares to take on the Billabong Pipe Masters after taking out the Pipe Invitational in dreamy North Shore conditions.Picture Sloane/WSL

Billy Kemper The surfer from Maui prepares to take on the Billabong Pipe Masters after taking out the Pipe Invitational in dreamy North Shore conditions.Picture Sloane/WSL

The Pipe Invitational, the 32-surfer trials event, was run and won yesterday and will determine the two wildcards into the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Men's Championship Tour (CT).

Maui's Billy Kemper took the top spot and Imaikalani deVault secured his spot in the Billabong Pipe Masters after dominating the trials event held in classic clean conditions.

Less than 2,000 points separate the Top 4 going into surfing's ultimate proving ground. Ferreira (51,070 points) could claim his maiden World Title, but he will need to best his four challengers, including Medina (50,005 points) who is fighting to defend his crown as the two-time reigning World Champion. Smith (49,985 points), Toledo (49,145 points), and Andino (44,665 points) will be on the hunt for both their maiden World Titles but also their first win at the Billabong Pipe Masters.

Surfing NSW is excited to announce another female Surf Coaching session at Wanda Beach Monday December 16 5pm in partnership with health supplement producer Mothernest.

The session involves some of the states best Surfing Australia Level 2 coaches. This session will focus on your goals and personal development as a surfer. The experienced level 2 SNSW coaches will help you with all aspects of improving your surfing, whether its technique improvement or competitive success as your main focus, this session will deliver professional surf coaching.

Give yourself the best opportunity to improve, coaching can eliminate the potential for any bad habits to develop. Enroll today on the SNSW website as spots are limited (30 max).

The session is designed for recreational or competitive intermediate female shortboard & longboard surfers aged 12 years and over. It is for those who want to advance their surfing to the next level. Maximum of 30 Surfers. NB: If you have a foam board it is still encouraged for you to participate in this session!

Honolua Blomfield was on fire at 'The Left' on Finals Day at the Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Picture WSL / Matt Dunbar

Honolua Blomfield was on fire at 'The Left' on Finals Day at the Taiwan Open World Longboard Championship Picture WSL / Matt Dunbar

Speaking of women in the waves Hawaiian Honolua Blomfield has won her second WSL World Longboard Title at the 2019 WSL Taiwan Open World Longboard Championships.

After a super consistent year for the 20-year-old Hawaiian, everything culminated in pumping but challenging, five-to-six foot surf at 'The Left' in Taitung. Blomfield claimed the Championship along with the event win with Rodrigo Sphaier (BRA) who also won the 2019 Taiwan Open Longboard Tour event.

Blomfield had all the odds stacked against her needing not only to win the event, but, also for Longboard Tour rankings leader Chloe Calmon (BRA) to be eliminated in the Semifinals or earlier. Blomfield couldn't focus on anything but her own surfing and had to leave the rest to fate.

After Calmon's shock Semifinal exit, to avoid a surf-off for the title, Blomfield had to beat Alice Lemoigne (FRA) in their 35-minute match-up. Blomfield never looked like faltering in the Final, posting a heat total of 12.67 early, nose riding through critical sections on set waves and flowing across the slow sections. She then tactically sat with priority until the dying seconds when she took off on the last wave of the heat to take her second World Title in three years.

Comments