Global Surftag Guru Steve Harrison gives the local lowdown and reviews the AUSTRALIAN OPEN OF SURFING.
With a new skate bowl, new beach bar and plenty of waves, the 2017 Australian Open of Surfing pumped all week, in and out of the water.
Starting with the Sydney Grom Challenge on the opening weekend, Avalon’s Cedar Leigh-Jones and Manly’s George Pittar took out their respective divisions along with North Steyne’s Dayyan Neve winning the Local Trials for the second year running ahead of Queenscliff young gun Ben Penny.
The Australian Leg of the World Surf League Qualifying Series has gained extra importance over the last few years with less highly rated events on the International surfing calendar.
With the best qualifying surfers coming to Manly from all over the World for the QS6000 rated event, there was only room for 10 Northern Beaches surfers in the heat draw.
A total of 228 competitors - 144 in the Men’s Division and 84 in the Women’s - that included Queenscliff surfers Samson Coulter and Alysse Cooper, who both received Wild Cards into the event thanks to their wins at the NSW Under 18 Titles last year.
It was great to see the support both received from the local community that lined the beach to watch the next generation of surfing stars compete on the big stage.
Round 1 casualties included Nathan Hedge and Coulter with Round 2 claiming Dayyan Neve, Letty Mortensen, Kai Otton and Sophia Bernard.
Davey Cathels and Cooper Chapman were the Northern Beaches best in the Men’s Division bowing out in Round 3, with Cooper also being eliminated in Round 3 by current World Champion Tyler Wright and former WCT surfer Dimity Stoyle.
Bungan Beaches Holly Wawn was the Peninsula’s best, reaching Round 4 before going down to Western Australia pair Bronte McCaulay and Claire Bevilacqua. Wawn moves up the Rankings to 34th after the Australian Open of Surfing.
"I was amazed by the confidence I held while competing in the AOS and felt I was preparing for a big result after my first heat.
“I am taking so many positive points out of my first two events of the year and will continue to strive to improve more and more learning from everything I do in the upcoming season," said Holly.
After a week of competition, the last two days started with big onshore waves pounding the Manly strip on the Saturday which lead to great surf on the Sunday with winds turning offshore cleaning up conditions.
Queenslanders Mitch Crews and Julian Wilson survived the early rounds to make the last eight with Wilson going on to finish runner-up to Brazilian Jesse Mendes in the final.
Tyler Wright was the best of the Australians in the Women’s Division making the Semi Finals with Philippa Anderson, Sally Fitzgibbons and Keely Andrew all being eliminated in the Quarter Finals. Hawaii’s Malia Manuel won the Women’s Final defeating France’s Joanne Defay.
For further information please contact:
Steve Harrison – Global Surftag // Phone: 0403 180 787