Sun outshines rain at Manly
The elements didn’t slow the action for day four of the Australian Open of Surfing (AOS) at iconic Manly Beach.
Today saw Round 1 (heats 4 – 24) of the Men’s Division run with women’s world champion Tyler Wright’s younger brother Mikey Wright hit the waves for the first time in a bid to emulate his sister’s success.
After sitting on the competitive bench for a chunk of the last eight months due to an ankle injury, Wright got his AOS campaign off to a flying start, posting two near-excellent scores in the 7.50 range.
Wright seamlessly linked together a chain of exciting forehand turns to muster up the aforementioned scores and earn himself a spot in Round 2.
“Last year I only did a few events and lost in the first round, so it definitely feels good to take a victory,” said Wright. “I think I definitely learned a lot from those losses. I was out with injury for the majority of the year in 2016 and I’ve only just taken off the tight brace and using tape. I didn’t have any pain or niggles either which is definitely a good sign.”
After taking the runner-up position at the 2015 AOS, Tahitian Mateia Hiquily got the ball rolling early in his Round 1 heat today, posting a 15.06 heat total for an eclectic mix of snaps and carves that kept his fellow competitors at arms-length and allowed him to cement a position in the upcoming second round.
Hawaiian native Josh Moniz continued to topple international surfers, taking out his opening heat. With the swell decreasing, Monz changed his tactic to account for the conditions and managed to notch up an impressive 16.16 heat total to create an uphill battle for his fellow competitors.
2016 AOS quarterfinalist Kalani Ball deepened his rapport with Manly’s punchy beach breaks, taking out his Round 1 heat with a respectable 13.36 heat total. The Illawarra natural-footer remained busy over the duration of the heat, catching ten waves and performing a wide array of manoeuvres.
Out of the surf, BMX and skate competitors ripped up the new custom-designed, built-to-spec concrete course in preparation for the men’s global qualifier stop of the 2017 Vans Park Series (VPS), the inaugural VPS Oceania Continental Championships for men and women, and the debut of the Vans BMX Pro Cup series.
Tomorrow’s AOS program (Wednesday March 1) will see some of the biggest names in surfing hit AOS waves for the first time for Round 3 (Heats 1 -12) of the Girls Make Your Move Women’s Pro and Round 2 (Heats 1 – 8) of the Men’s Comp.
On the women’s side, Tyler Wright will compete in Heat 1, with fellow Aussie CT favourites Sally Fitzgibbons (2016 WCT 8), Nikki Van Dijk (2016 WCT 11), Keely Andrew (2016 WCT 14) and Bronte Macaulay (2016 WCT 17) all kicking of their AOS campaigns throughout the day.
Also competing will be big wave surfer Felicity Palmateer, 2016 junior world champ Isabella Nichol, current QS #1 Macy Callaghan and social media surf stars Holly-Daze Coffey and Ellie-Jean Coffey.
Day 5 will also see top international CT women’s competitors hit the water including Tatiana Weston-Webb (2016 WCT 4), Joanne Defay (2016 WCT 5), Malia Manuel (2016 WCT 7), Sage Erickson (2016 WCT 9), Coco Ho (2016 WCT 13) and Pauline Ado (2016 WCT 17).
In the Men’s Division, top seed and Aussie surf hero Julian Wilson (2016 WCT 8) will compete in in Heat 1, donning limited edition pink board shorts to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer charities and organisations.
Also in action will be Aussie comeback king Jack Freestone, Cronulla CT rookie Connor O’Leary (2016 QS 1) and defending AOS champ Dion Atkinson.
The 2017 AOS runs from February 25 until March 5. The nine-day, one-of-a-kind festival brings together some of the world’s top athletes in surfing, skate and BMX, in addition to free live concerts on the MTV Stage.
News Source: Cardinal Spin