Day one of the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro and the Sydney Women’s Pro pres. by Sisstrevolution revealed the future or surfing is in good hands after a cracker of a battle between some of the world’s best surfers in small but contestable 2 to 3 foot conditions at Manly Beach.
Looking ahead to today and the rest of the week though, it’s clear there’s more on the line for a few competitors than just competition points.
Read on for more information about the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro and the Sydney Women’s Pro pres. by Sisstrevolution to discover for yourself some of the narratives that make this event one to watch in 2019.
Alana Blanchard had a mixed start to the 2019 season, bowing out in round 1 of the Newcastle Surfest to good friend Brianna Cope (HAW) and Lucia Martino (ESP).
Alana, who hasn’t been competing full time for the last couple of years, clearly saw the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro as an opportunity to shake her round 1 loss in Newcastle. Posting a massive 8.97, the highest single wave score, using a combination of impressive frontside turns to defeat a defiant Leila Riccobuano (HAW).
Alana now faces fellow Hawaiian Zoe McDougall, Tia Blanco from Puerto Rico and Sophia Fulton from Australia as she looks to continue her push towards the podium in heat 11 of round 2 today.
Kelly Slater looks relaxed and happy as he prepares to throw on his competitive jersey for the first time in 2019. And that spells trouble for the other QS grinders and CT competitors looking to snatch a victory in Sydney. Many of who will have to reach deep within their bag of tricks in order to defeat the GOAT at one of his favourite places in the world to compete.
Rather than go all in on the event though, it seems that Slater is using the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro as somewhat of a warm-up before the CT kicks off with the Quicksilver Pro on the Gold Coast in April.
Slater admitted as much in an earlier press release, stating that Manly is
“a nice warm-up prior to jumping back on Tour full-time after close to a year and a half hiatus from competition.”
In other news, Slater will be presenting the 2019 Midget Farrelly Lifetime Achievement Award to a legendary Australian surfer at a business breakfast hosted by Surfing NSW and the NSW Business Chamber. The unknown recipient will be presented the award on stage. Slater will then hang around for photos and interviews with the media.
This means Slater’s first chance to flex his surfing skills and his competitive prowess will be in his round 2 heat against Ramzi Boukhiam from Morocco, Vicente Romero from Spain and Victor Bernardo from Brazil. This heat will be held at 10:50 am Wednesday 20th March.
Shire boy Connor O’Leary has been on a heater so far this year, taking out the recent Carve Pro and the VISSLA Central Coast Pro and giving himself some serious confidence going into the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro.
Connor, who spent both 2017 and 2018 as one of the emerging talents in a hyped crop of World Tour rookies, will no doubt be looking for scalps as he attempts to bring the title back to Cronulla and earn himself 6,000 points in the process. But with it documented last year that the Olympics are also on his radar, perhaps Connor’s real aspiration for the event is to boost his profile and get a look in for the Australian team.
Waist high ramps and punchy pocket surfing will rule the next few days of competition, with today looking especially tough for all competitors due to the lack of size and power.
Looking ahead the waves won’t be significantly better tomorrow. In fact, based on predictions it seems that the swell won’t reach a solid height until sometime next week.
For now though, fading east and southeast swells persist at a slow 1 to 2 foot across the region with gentle winds blowing from the south hanging around until at least midday tomorrow.
Based on this forecast, today and tomorrow are going to suit surfers with a smaller frame who can generate speed from what is otherwise a pretty slow takeoff.
Surfers who can also ride through those fatter sections on the higher tide and find momentum with not much room to move when the water runs out at low will also be able to get the most out of each heat.
Reunion Island surfer Cannelle Bulard is set to shake things up at the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro after a few years away from the competitive arena undertaking a university degree.
Coming off the back of an equal 3rd place finish at the Newcastle 6,000 event, Bulard is sitting in the top spot of the QS which puts her in a great position to qualify for the Championship Tour.
Watch out for her in round 2 of the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro as she lines up against Australians Kobie Enright and Vittoria Farmer plus German-born Rachel Presti.
Marc Lacomare put on a clinic in small wave surfing in his round 1 heat to beat out Mihimana Braye, Mitch Coleborne and Rio Waida. With a relentless backhand assault that netted him a two-wave combination of 15.00 points (out of a possible 20) to progress into the top spot.
Piper Harrison from Australia also shone in her round 1 outing, winning with a heat total of 15.43, while Barbados surfer Josh Burke was rewarded for throwing caution to the wind with his aerial attack with the highest two-wave total of the day at 15.37.
Fresh from slotting into first place on the WSL Asia QS rankings, Ketut Agus from Indonesia was awarded a seed into all of the 6,000 and 10,000 rated events for the first half of 2019. The slick natural-footer then capitalised on this opportunity by moving onto round 2 after beating out more experienced competitors such as Flavio Nakagima and Rafael Teixeira from Brazil in addition to Cody Young from Hawaii.
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