Big guns of Surf storm Manly

Wednesday March 1, 2017

The sun brought out the best in surfing today as the big guns hit the waves for the first time for day five of the 2017 Australian Open of Surfing (AOS) at iconic Manly Beach.

Top seeded Men’s Pro Julian Wilson surfed a perfect 10 with electrifying aerial moves, while Aussie CT pros dominated in the water throughout Round 3 of the Girls Make Your Move Women’s Pro.

In stormy three-foot peaks, Aussie women notched the highest scores in 7 out of 12 heats, with local favourites moving through including world champ Tyler Wright (2016 WCT 1), Sally Fitzgibbons (2016 WCT 8), Nikki Van Dijk (2016 WCT 11), Keely Andrew (2016 WCT 14), Bronte Macaulay (2016 WCT 17).

A 2012 AOS winner, Fitzgibbons is no stranger the competing at Manly Beach. Having worked on heat strategy and fitness over the off-season, Fitzgibbons said she loves the early QS6,000 events as they allow a CT style atmosphere without the pressure of CT ratings points.

“…There are a lot of things that we work on in the off-season that can’t be tested unless you are surfing a real heat. Having a lower stress environment to run through heats is really beneficial. Real-time heat surfing is the most important practice and I feel like I’m building and building towards Snapper.”

Also progressing to Round 4 was Australian big wave surfing record-holder Felicity Palmateer and 2016 junior world champ Isabella Nichols, as well as a host of top international CT pros 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).

Day 5 also saw top seed Julian Wilson (2016 WCT 8) kick off his 2017 AOS campaign in the opening heat of Round 2 (Heats 1 – 8) of the Men’s Comp with a perfect 10. Wilson posted an impressive combined total of 18.00 to top his heat and move dominantly through to Round 3.

“The waves are really fun today and it looks as if it’s going to keep coming all week,” Wilson said. “It feels good to make my first heat of the year – I’m taking this event as seriously as a CT event. It’s important to get a good start to the season here. Once we get deeper into the draw it goes to man-on-man heats so it’s a great warm-up for the CT season.”

Also moving through to Round 3 was defending AOS champ and South Australian favourite Dion Atkinson and Tweed Heads CT Pro Jack Freestone (2016 WCT 33).

Tomorrow’s AOS program (Thursday March 2) will see Men’s Pro Round 2 heats continue and the kickoff of Men’s Round 3 competition.

Round 2 men’s action will see Tyler Wright’s brother Mikey Wright back in competition, along with former world #2 Bede Durbidge, Northern Beaches’ favourite Cooper Chapman, indigenous surfer Soli Bailey, Lennox Head pro Stu Kennedy and CT rookie Ethan Ewing.

Top international pros will also take to the surf including Kanoa Igarashi (2016 WCT 20) Leonardo Fioravanti (2016 WCT 36), Joan Duru (2016 WCT 20) and CT rookie Ian Gouveia (2016 QS 9).

In Round 3 (Heats 1 – 4) action, Julian Wilson will return to the water, along with Frederico Morais Dion Atkinson, Jack Freestone, Keanu Asing and Mitch Crews.

Park terrain skate competition will also begin on AOS Day 5, with the women’s qualifier and final of the VPS Oceania Continental Championships.

Taking place on a new custom-designed, built-to-spec concrete park, the VPS Oceania Continental Championships provide the official pathway for eligibility into the Vans Park Series Global Qualifier and Vans Park Series World Championships. Both competitions are open to all entrants meeting proof of regional eligibility.

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